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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

YES! Stuffed porpoise stomach!

The internet is an amazing thing. A medieval English recipe featuring porpoise is Fyodor's Animal Flesh Recipe of the Day. With a Catholic angle to boot!


Almond Milk Frumenty

Frumenty was one the most popular foods of the Middle Ages, used as an accompaniment to roast meat, venison being particularly favored. However, this particular recipe was intended for Lent and was meant to be served with boiled porpoise!

Frumenty recipes appear throughout surviving period cookbooks and manuscripts, proving that its preparation was wide-spread and common. Apparently, any cook worth his or her salt could prepare this dish.

Original recipe from An Ordinance of Pottage

16. Frumente yn lentyn. Take clene pykyd whete. Bray hit yn a morter, and fanne it clene, and seth hit tyl hit be brokyn. Than grynd blanchid almondys yn a morter; draw therof a mylke. Do hit togedyr and boyle hit tyl hit be resonabull thykke: than loke thy whete be tendyr. Colour hit up with safferyn. Lech thy purpas when hit ys sodyn, than ley hit on disches by hitsylfe, and serve hit forth with frumente.

— Hieatt, Constance B. An Ordinance of Pottage. An Edition of the Fifteenth Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988.

What's the matter? Your Middle English a bit rusty? Haven't read The Canterbury Tales since junior high?

Translation :

Frumenty in Lent. Take clean picked wheat. Pound it in a morter, and remove the hull, and boil it until it cracks. Then grind blanched almonds in a morter; make an almond milk. Add the wheat to the almond milk and boil until reasonably thick; make sure the wheat is tender. Color it with saffron. Cut your porpoise after it's boiled, then set it in dishes with nothing else, and serve it with frumenty.


DIRECTIONS:

Stir together all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until the bulgar is tender and the mixture becomes thick. Be careful not to scorch. Serve as a soup or as a sauce for meat.

Recipe Source: Boke of Gode of Cookery Recipes, A by James L. Matterer, 2000

Bring on the porpoise!

Puddyng of purpaysse

PERIOD: England, 15th century

SOURCE: Harleian MS 279
CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Stuffed porpoise stomach

ORIGINAL RECEIPT:

.xl. Puddyng of purpaysse. Take þe Blode of hym, & þe grece of hym self, & Ote-mele, & Salt, & Pepir, & Gyngere, & melle þese to-gederys wel, & þan putte þis in þe Gutte of þe purays, & þan lat it seþe esyli, & not hard, a good whylys; & þan take hym vppe, & broyle hym a lytil, & þan serue forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55.

London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


GODE COOKERY TRANSLATION:

Pudding of porpoise.

Take the Blood of him, & the grease of him self, & Oatmeal, & Salt, & Pepper, & Ginger, & mix these together well, & then put this in the Gut of the porpoise, & then let it boil easily, & not hard, a good while; & then take him up, & broil him a little, & then serve forth.

INGREDIENTS:
Porpoise blood
Porpoise grease
Oatmeal
Salt
Pepper
Ginger
One porpoise stomach

DIRECTIONS:
Combine the porpoise blood, porpoise grease, and oatmeal, & season it with salt, pepper, & ginger. This should be a thick & moist stuffing-like mixture. Stuff the porpoise stomach about half full with this, as the stuffing will swell during cooking. Sew up the stomach tightly or secure each end with string, & prick it all over with a large needle to avoid bursting. Put an upturned plate in the base of a pot of boiling water, stand the stomach on this and bring back to the boil; boil steadily for 3 to 4 hours. Cook until done; remove from water and drain well. Place in a broiler and cook for several minutes on both sides to slightly crisp the skin, then serve.

This recipe is essentially a porpoise haggis, as it uses all the elements found in the traditional Scottich haggis of a boiled sheep stomach with an oatmeal stuffing.

If for some reason you are unable to find a porpoise stomach, you might try a sheep stomach, still used today when making haggis. Alternatively, you may do the "American" version of making haggis, which leaves out the stomach entirely and has the mixture baked in a loaf pan.

BOO! HISSSSSS! Porpoise stomach! Porpoise stomach!

I now have even more respect for medieval English Catholics.

Also, you may substitute a little white wine for the porpoise blood and butter or suet for the porpoise grease. Vegetable shortening may be also be used for the porpoise grease; the original recipe was probably intended for Lent and porpoise grease would have been an acceptable animal fat to use at that time. Vegetable shortening will probably be the closest and easiest alternative to fish grease if you wish to keep this a Lenten dish.

GLOSSARY OF MEDIEVAL COOKING TERMS

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