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Monday, July 16, 2012

CANELA WITH 13TH C RECIPE FOR GREASED HEN




Cinnamon from Sri Lanka
Photo by: Lord Williams

canela de Ceylán, Gr. kinnámomon, L. Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Ar. qurfa, Heb. quinamom, ME candel, kanel(e), Eng. cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon (today Sri Lanka). It is one of the oldest spices known, obtained from the bark of evergreen trees and shrubs growing in Ceylon (today Sri Lanka), Taiwan and Indonesia. Today, it is cultivated as an evergreen shrub. It grows in wet areas along sandy riverbanks. During the rainy season, the bark is stripped off easily in single strips. It is then rolled and left to dry in the shade and then put in the sun. When taken to market this light brown, soft bark looks like cigars.  It has a delicate taste. When ground, it must be used immediately for it looses its flavor quickly. Although not shown on the labels, store bought ground cinnamons contain preservatives with gluten. 

The Arabs imported Ceylon cinnamon to the Mediterranean where it was worth more than gold and essential for food flavoring, as seen in Al-Andalus dishes. It was the third most used seasoning in Fadalat after pepper and cilantro. It was not only used to flavor desserts but all types of foods. Also it was added to pickles, relishes and preserves. Medicinally, it has antiseptic properties and stimulates digestive and gastric juices. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:XXXVI:82:ftn 4:XXXXIIII:87:XXXXV:89 etc; Anón/Huici. 1966:1:15-16:2:16:3:16-17 etc; Cambridge. 2000:II:1757; Curye. 1985:175; ES: Collins. Apr 1, 96; ES: Ibn Razīn/Lord-Williams. Aug 15, 08:6:60:70 etc; Ibn Razīn/Marín. 2007:39; Nola. 1989:xii-1:xii-2:xii-3 etc; and Simonetti. 1991:36]

GREASED HEN ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSPATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #23. GALLINA QUE SE LLAMA ENGRASADA, p 26

Ingredients

Grinding Cinnamon in a Mortar
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For the hen:
1 whole hen or chicken
1 tsp cinnamon
12 sprigs lavender
1 tsp pepper corns
½ tsp cloves
1 shaving ginger
½ tsp saffron
½ c virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp Byzantine murri[1]

For the sauce:
2 slices day old bread
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp pomegranate arils
1 c chicken broth

Preparation

A Hen that Melts in Your Mouth!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For the hen:
Clean hen, inside and out. With a knife make holes in the breast and thighs.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375ºF/190ºC.

Grind the cinnamon and the lavender in a mortar then add the other spices in the same order as above. Pour this into a food processor with the olive oil and Byzantine murri and grind until it takes on a saffron-orange color and the mixture is smooth. It tastes terrible! Take a spreading knife and smear the hen inside and its back. Flip it over on aluminum wrap and spread the sauce on the breast, wings and legs. Tightly close all sides of the aluminum foil and roast.

Roast about 1 hr. Open the aluminum wrap the last 15 minutes to brown the breast and thighs. Now it tastes heavenly and the meat is as tender as butter.

For the sauce:

Scrap all the drippings from the roasting pan and aluminum foil into a saucepan. Soak bread in vinegar and add it to the saucepan. Stir to blend the bread into the drippings. Add 1 c broth and continue stirring until all is combined. Boil gently to obtain the desired thickness.


[1] See blog titled almorí published August 25, 2011 for recipe.

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