An experiment I started a week ago has come to a good end
15 A leafy green dish called hohtz kraut
Take a Mosz (= Maß, measure) of honey. With this belong four lot (measure) of ginger, two lot of nutmeg, two lot of cloves, half a lot of saffron, three quinten (measure) of salt, eight lot of mustard that is made and parboiled, half a pound of almonds, and half a pound of raisins, and raw, peeled hard pears (regel ader paris piern). And take young chard with the root. This you must scrape and wash so that the sand comes off it. Parboil the chard with the roots as you parboil other leafy greens. Then cut off the roots and press out the greens well, and lay it into a good vinegar, and also put the roots into the vinegar, and leave it lying in there for a night. Then press the vinegar out of the greens and cut it with a knife so that it stays shaggy (zotet). Then also cut the root into slices and pieces as you did with the pears. Lay the cut root and the pears and the almond kernels first into the yellow sauce (prwe) that you made . Once that turns yellow, mix it all together with the sauce and put in as much of the pressed-out chard as the honey may cover so that it still remains juicy and not be too dry. Stir that well together and put it into a glazed pot. That way you can keep it for a year or two. Also in a cask, if no other wine is added, it stays equally good. When you wish to serve it, always stir it with a spoon so that it becomes juicy. But if it does not turn juicy, add more honey so that it turns juicy again. Serve it cold in a bowl and strew cinnamon or trysenet (spice mix) on it, thus it is well made.
This is an interesting riff on the tradition of compost, pickled vegetable mixess in spicy and often sweet sauces. The name itself is a challenge – does it really mean ‘elevated greens’? The generous use of spices and honey certainly suggests this is a feature of upper-class cuisine.
Last weekend, when we met to try out a number of recipes, we also put together a small amount of this dish. Two small bunches of chard and three small turnips, parboiled, drained and sliced, were combined with thin slices of raw pears, raisins, and blanched slivered almonds. The sauce consisted of a cup of honey, half a cup of (storebought) mustard, a quarter cup of white wine vinegar, and generous helpings of ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It went on the plates fresh and harmonised well with our crawfish pie, but we retained enough to take home in jars and leave to mature a little.
Today, I removed it from the fridge and tried it, and I can confirm it has turned out excellent. The flavours blended more thoroughly, the pears softened, the spices mellowed. It is not a chutney, but you cannot deny a certain spiritual kinship. Serving it, as suggested, with trysenet, a sweet spice mixture I tried out last year, would probably work, but is really not needed.