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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FRANCOLÍN WITH THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF'S WILD GAME CASSEROLE

Crested Francolin
Photo from: Steve Garvie
L. Francolinus francolinus, Arag. francolí, Eng. francolin. It was the size and shape of a pheasant but had distinct plumage. The head, chest and stomach were black while the back was gray with large white spots. His neck was surrounded with a brown collar. It is extinct in Europe today.

In medieval Al-Andalus, it was considered to have the tastiest meat after the roster and the hen. It was thought to have been better than partridge and frequently the people of Al-Andalus consumed francolin cooked in various ways.

In León Suero Quiñones served it during his jousting tournament in 1434 with other game thought luxurious. Villena reported, they were abundant in Aragon and that they should be carved in the same manner as the peacock. Avenzoar maintained that the meat has a tendency toward dryness. [Alonso Luengo. 1994:40; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:198, 219-220; .
universal. 1998:24:1103; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:138:189; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:51; OXF Eng Dict. 1989:VI: Follow:145; and Villena/Calero. 2002:22b:26a]

THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF'S WILD GAME CASEROLE

Ingredients

Slivers of Garlic in Vinegar and Wine
Photo by: Lord-Williams
2 francolins or other game birds[1]
7-8 garlic cloves chopped into slivers
1 dash of balsamic vinegar
¼ c wine vinegar
½ c red wine
1 c flour
butter for browning meat
1 large onion, chopped
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 large chopped carrot[2]
3 large chives, sliced
1 large turnip,[3] sliced
 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of basil, coarsely chopped
1 pinch of thyme, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp white pepper
2 c chicken stock
1 c cream


A Savory Dish for the King of the House!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Preparation

Quarter the birds. Remove the skin of the garlic cloves and slice them into pieces. Put them in the in a dish with the vinegar and wine. Then stick the slivers through the skin of the birds.

Roll the birds in flour and let sit for 30 minutes. Then brown the pieces in butter. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until translucent. 
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375ºC/190ºC 

Put the meat in casserole dish and put the vegetables around them. Put the herbs on top. Mix the wine and vinegar with the pepper, chicken stock and cream. Pour this over the birds.

Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours until meat is tender. Serve on a bed of rice or couscous.


[1]One chicken was used as game birds were not available.
[2] Use a white carrot if available as orange carrots did not exist in the Middle Ages.
[3] A beet was used as a substitute as turnips were not in season but note that beets were not being used in medieval Spanish foods at that time. They were consumed during Roman occupation but feel out of use until the 16th century.

Monday, August 18, 2014

FLOR DEL VINO


Barrel of Montilla wine, showing the "flor"
Photo from Chris Juden
yema de mosto, "flor" of wine, yolk of must, a natural yeast. As they age in barrel, they develop a layer of a, yeast-like growth that helps protect the wine from excessive oxidation. It is formed in grape skins, pits and stems, collected from the first pressing of grapes and aged in the barrel while becoming a orujo, a grappa. This is aged in oak for two to six years. The alcohol content is between 16.5-50%. It is said to be drunk “to kill the [intestinal] worm[s].” It is a killer of a drink! See encina. [ES: Sherry. May 15, 04; and Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:156]

Friday, August 15, 2014

FLOR DE MACÍS WITH 15TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR EGGPLANT CASSEROLE

Nutmeg
Photo from: Ricardo Maria Mantero
mace; the best part of the nutmeg in the middle of the shell, used to flavor food. [Nola. 1989:xix-1:xxii-2:xxxvii-4 etc ; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:169; and Nola/Pérez. 1994:197]

EGGPLANT CASSORLE ADAPTED FROM NOLA'S   
xxiiii-2 BERENJENAS EN CAZUELA
  
Ingredients

2 lbs eggplants 
2 quarts mutton broth
2 onions
3 eggs
½ c dry cheese grated
1 dl olive oil


Shredding Mace
Photo by: Lord-Willliams
1/3 c  breadcrumbs
1 tsp ginger scraping
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1 tbsp fresh parlsey

Garnish
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Prepration

Remove stems from the eggplants and wash them. Cut them in half and draw lines into the flesh vertically and horizontally to look like a grid. Rub the flesh with salt and let sit flesh side down on paper towels for 15-20 minutes.

A Slice of Eggplant Casserole and Mace
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Put then in water with a little salt and the onions cut in half. Boil them, drain them and wring them out in a cloth. 

Heat a frying pan. Add oil and once hot add the eggplant and onions, turn frequently over moderate heat and break up junks. When golden brown add cheese, breadcrumbs and 1 whole egg slightly beaten. Continue frying 4 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Grease a serving dish with oil.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425ºF/220ºC

Separate the whites from the yolks of the remaining eggs and beat the yolks.  Mix them the eggplants, with a pinch of salt and the rest of the breadcrumbs. Add ginger, mace, nutmeg, green coriander and parsley. When blended,  bake until it sets and turns golden brown, which takes about 15 minutes. Change the oven setting to grill and brown the cheese for 5 minutes.

When done garnish with sugar and cinnamon.





Monday, August 11, 2014

FLOR, LA - WITH A FORERUNNER OF CREAMED SPINACH RECIPE


Dicing the "Flower" - the Best Salt Pork
Photo by: Lord-Williams
(the flower), the best part. The scum of yeast fungi in sherry is considered the best part of the sherry. In Nola’s recipe for chopped spinach, he calls salt pork, “the flower of the pot,” to be added  Almost 100 years later, Cervantes calls the girl who scrubs floors and washes dishes the same.

There is also harina de flor, which means sifted flour.[1] [Cervantes. “Ilustre.” 1994:733; ES:Lord. Fadalat. 2008; and Nola. 1989:xxxiii-1]


CHOPPED SPINACH ADAPTED FROM NOLA’S xxxiii-1 ESPINACAS PICADAS[2]


Ingredients

3 tbsp raisins
½ qt broth
½ almonds
Washing Spinach Leaves
Photo by: Lord-Willims
2 lbs spinach
4½ oz solid pork fat
¼ c olive oil or lard
3 tbsp Aragonese cheese[3]
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp mint
salt to taste

Garnish
a few toasted almonds
a sprig of mint

Preparation
           
Remove pits from raisins and soak in water for 3-4 hrs.

Put shelled almonds in water, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Remove the skins and grind them in a food processor. Make a broth, preferably mutton. Add it to the almonds and let sit until ready to use. Then strain this almond milk though a cheesecloth.

A Unique forerunner of Creamed Spinach
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Snap off spinach stems and put the leaves in a food processor with hot water. Grind until the spinach is chopped. Strain and squeeze the water out of the leaves.

Dice the very best (the flower of) pork fat into bite size pieces and fry it. Once it has cooked remove the fat and fry the spinach in the grease. Add olive oil or lard as needed. Put the spinach in a pan with the pork. Add the almond milk and gently boil for about 10 minutes. Then add thinly sliced cheese and the raisins. Let cook 3-4 minutes more, add herbs.  Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and serve.



[1] See blog titled aludir, posted September 15, 2011for a bread recipe using sifted flour.
[2] See blog titled carnes ahumadas, published August 30, 2012 for a different version of this recipe.
[3] Many interpret this to be fresh cheese but it could mean anything. Mozzarella cheese was used but the recipe welcomes cheese preferences of the cook.