Reassembled Chicken from Cgm 384 II

Another interesting piece of culinary sleight-of-hand.

51 Chickens put together (angeleten)

For put-together chickens, take old hens and pick them apart lengthwise and cut off their meat (gebrätt), but see that the bones stay connected to each other. Chop the meat and add bread and bacon and spices, and lay it back over the bones and boil that. Thus you have put-together chickens. And put the skin over it and pin/sew (heft) it together and then boil them nicely. Also mix in eggs or parsley or other things into it. Small raisins would also be good.

Medieval German cooks appear to have relished doing complicated things to chickens, and the idea of turning its meat into a seasoned paste and returning it to a chicken shape is not unique. I did an experiment with another recipe earlier. Here, the process is expanded to the entire chicken rather than separate pieces. While the initial instructions do not mention the fact, the skin must have been removed carefully in order to put it back on before cooking. I have also tried this with a recipe from the Mittelniederdeutsches Kochbuch (#30), though in this case the bones were removed, not retained.

30 Item if you would make roasted chickens without bones, scald them well to measure and make (pluck) them clean. Clear them out (loosen the skin?) all around before you take them out. Cut them open a little above the wings or higher (?ofte up). Take out the insides (ingheweide – usually entrails) altogether there so that the skin stays undamaged. Then take the meat and the liver and the stomach and cook them until done. Take out the bones and chop it finely (thohope wol thomate clene lit: a lot and small in its proper measure). Add eggs and spices and bacon and raisins. Fill it back into the skin. Parboil it in water so that it hardens. Make as many of these chickens, as you need. You may boil or roast them. When they are done, serve them.

I think at some point I would like to get a few friends together and play with chickens.

Bound together with medicinal, veterinary, and magical texts, the culinary recipes of Munich Cgm 384 were partly published in 1865 as “Ein alemannisches Büchlein von guter Speise“. The manuscript dates to the second half of the fifteenth century. My translation follows the edition by Trude Ehlert in Münchner Kochbuchhandschriften aus dem 15. Jahrhundert, Tupperware Deutschland, Frankfurt 1999, which includes the first section of recipes not published earlier.

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