Venison blood and kidney stew from the Kuchenmaistrey

It’s meaty.

2. xx. Item if you would make a good meat dish (brat) of a leg of deer, take the kidneys and beat them until they are broad. Wash them clean. Take the blood, grate gingerbread into it and pass it through a cloth. Put it into a pot and add wine and vinegar. If the blood does not pass through readily, add wine or meat broth and rub the gingerbread and the blood through (the cloth) and let it stand. Cut the kidneys and the meat into cubes. Add it to the sauce and let it boil and season it with salt and black spices.

Blood-based sauces are not unusual in German medieval cuisine. An entire class of dish, the fürhess, is based on the principle. This is a rich and luxurious version using quality meat (brat or brät meaning fit for roasting, the most coveted kind). Many similar dishes use less desirable cuts. The mention of ‘black spices’ is also interesting. I do not know exactly what these are, but I assume pepper and cloves would feature prominently.

I will continue posting recipes from the Nuremberg Kuchenmaistrey produced around 1490, but my mode will change. Instead of translating one daily and posting it here, I will try to use what time there is to translate as much as I can and post only some of them here. Once the entire text is done, I will try to get it published either as a book, or online.

The Kuchenmaistrey was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The Kuchenmaistrey (mastery of the kitchen) gave rise to a vibrant culture of amended and expanded manuscript copies as well as reprints spanning almost a century. The recipes seem designed to appeal to a wealthy, literate and cosmopolitan clientele.

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