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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


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]



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

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. 

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.

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