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Monday, June 2, 2014

ESTOFADO WITH 13TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR ARTICHOKES WITH MEAT STEW

Artichoke and Meat Stew
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ar. bāj, Eng. pottage, stew. Originally this was Persian stew, probably koresht, chicken or meat stew served with rice. Lamb might be stewed in a pomegranate sauce or chicken in walnut-lemon sauce. Hispano-Arabs in Al-Andalus copied Persian stews as Persia was the gourmet in cookery during the Middle Ages. 

Actually, stews are thought to have originated some 10,000 years ago with the development of pottery, which made cooking and stewing much easier. The first written record appears in Apicius’ Roman Cookery Book (1 C.) but long before that drawings of stews were painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs and remains pertaining to them have been found in the graves of American Indians. 

By the Middle Ages all regions in the world seemed to have stew specialties. The art of cooking stew is that it never boils. The lid is tightly closed to prevent the vapor and aroma from escaping and it is left to simmer over low heat for hours. 

In Spanish stews, liquids consist of wine and water or vinegar and water. Solids include meat, fowl or fish and/or legumes and vegetables. Variations are found in every region. There were so many pottages in England that even the medieval paintings showed it being served to the Apostles. See estufa[Anón/Huici.1966:186:335:123:192; Black. Medieval. 1998:88; Apicius/Flower. 1958:189; Ibn Razīn/Granja. 1960:24:108:26:171; Hazlett. 1886:185; Nola. 1989:xxi-4; Ruíz/Brey. 1965:781c-d: 135; and Sass.1975:64]

PREPARING A DISH OF ARTICHOKES[1] WITH MEAT ADAPTED FROM HUICI'S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS #281 HECHURA DEL PLATO DE ALCACHOFAS CON CERNE, p 162

Ingredients 
Artichokes Fresh from the Market
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 lb meat for stewing
1 ½ c broth
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp murri
[2]
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp caraway
1 tsp coriander seed
enough artichokes for 4 persons
2 eggs
 - 1 c breadcrumbs
ground pepper

Preparation

Cut the meat for stewing. Put it in in a pot with water, salt, murri, vinegar and, pepper, caraway and coriander seed. Heat it but do not let it boil.  

When cooked, wash artichokes, boil them separately and quarter them, removing tough leaves. Place them over the meat. Heat a little, and cover the contents of the pot with two eggs and breadcrumbs. 

The Medieval Spanish Chef put the meat in a caserole and covered that with the artichokes. Then poured beaten eggs over them and  covered them with breadcrumbs. Then the dish was grilled in the oven until the eggs thickened and the breadcrumbs were toasted.

Sprinkle pepper on it and serve, God willing.



[1] 
Perry and Huici apparently disagree. Huici believes artichokes existed in 13th Century Al-Andalus while perry does not. He calls them cardoons, which are the predecessors of artichokes. 
[2] >dated August 25, 2011 for the recipe.

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