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Friday, October 14, 2011

ANÍS, CHICKEN (WITH CHICKPEAS) RECIPE FROM ANÓN AL-ANDALUS

Star Anise
Photo by: Lord-Williams
matalahava, matalahúva, matalalúa, OCast batalhalúa, matafalna, matafalúa, matahalúa, matalahuga, matalahau, matalahúga, matalaúa, matalava, anys, OCat batahaluua, Cat. all, matafaluga, Est matalauva, Hisp Ar matalahúga, al-hábba, , al-hulûwa (a sweet grain), Gr. anison, anneson, L. Pimpinella anisum, Early Ar. anysum, Ar. anisún, nafaa, habbata halúa, razianej rūmī (Byzantine fennel), MEng an(ne)ys, Eng. anise, the seed and the plant. Pimpinella, a medieval name, comes from the Latin dipinello, meaning bi-pinnate, referring to the form of the leaves. The plant is a native of Asia Minor, Greece, Crete and Egypt. By 1500 B.C. it was cultivated for culinary and digestive purposes. Following Charlemagne’s 9th C. edict that each of his estates be supplied with specimens of all the herbs growing in St. Gall’s monastery, anise spread all over Europe. Spain and North Africa became steady producers. The Arabs, however, claim they were ahead of the French monarch by reintroducing it to Al-Andalus. It was imported to England where it became very popular by 1305 in perfume and medicine. Edward I created a special tax on it to repair London Bridge. A special English treat was anneys in counfyte, candied spice seeds, especially aniseed. There was no attempt to cultivate anise there until the middle of the 17 C. The climate is unsuitable as a long warm season is required for the seeds to ripen. Although the seed is small, brown and ugly, the oil from it is preferred for flavoring, aroma and medicinally. In lozenges or in cough medicine, it relieves dry coughs for its carminative and pectoral properties. The principal component of anise oil is anethole, which is good for spasmodic asthma, bronchitis and the bronchial tubes. Expectant mothers took it to calm nausea, while nursing mothers ate it to stimulate milk. Northern Europeans save the flavoring or the seed for cakes and breads. In Asia and along the Mediterranean, whole or ground anise seeds were added to vegetables, meat dishes, marinades, breads, fruits, cheeses, cakes and liquor. The leaf was included in fruit salads and the roots and stems were added to stews and soups. From prehistoric times, it has been drunk as an infusion. Traditionally, anisette is thought of as a liquor but that is a Renaissance invention. Hippocrates drank a beverage flavored with anise called “anisum.” Arnold de Vilanova, Catalan alchemist, born in 1240, wrote The Boke of Wine in which he described the distillation of wine into aqua vitae and flavored with herbs and spices including anise. Both he and Raymond Lully, his student, thought this divinely inspiring as they found it vital and life restoring. For its magical powers see eneldo. [Aguilera. 2002:51; Alonso, Martin 1985:II:D:2740; Bremness. 1990:109; Corominas. 1980:III:G:877; Curye. 1985:170; Espasa. 1988:33:MARI:843; ES: Coleman. Feb 13, 03; ES: Gavalas. Sep 23, 02; ES: Meadery. Mar 3, 01; Serradilla. 1993:34; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a]

A DISH OF CHICKEN RECOMMENDED FOR THE ELDERLY AND THOSE OF A MOIST DISPOSITION ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN ANDALUS #197 PLATO DE POLLO QUE CONVIENE A LOS VIEJOS Y A LOS QUE TIENEN SEROSIDADES, p 125
For 6 persons

*Chicken with mashed chickpeas...
Ingredients
3-4 lb chicken
6 eggs
2 onions
1 c chickpeas
1 tsp freshly fround pepper
1 sp cumin
1 tsp caraway seed
1 tso anise
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
2 tbsp or 1 oz rue
1 cinnamon stick
6 egg yolk
1 c chopped almonds
1 tsp mashed cloves
1 tsp crushed lavender florets

Preparation
Soak chickpeas overnight. Remove feathers from chicken, wash, cut off apendiges and quarter. Put chickepeans into a muslin bag. Put all the ingredients up to and including salt into a pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add rue and cinnamon. Boil gently until the chicken is done, about 1 hour. Stir in egg yolks and almonds to thicken the broth. Add cloves and lavender florets and serve. For a more decorative dish mash chickpeas in a food processor.

*The chili in the photograph is not medieval. Bright pink and purple lavender florets can be just as decorative.

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