Lemon Chicken

From the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

Poultry and lemons in the kitchen, mid-16th century courtesy of wikimedia commons

28 Chickens Cooked in Sauce (eingepickte)

Take lemons (Lemoni). Brown (roeste) the chickens in fat, take them out into a pot and pour in half wine and half meat broth. Season it well with pepper and let it boil. When they have boiled, cut lemon slices like you cut horseradish and lay it into the eingepickte cooking liquid. Let it boil up once or twice and try it. It should not be sweet but tingle (with spiciness – bitzeln). Serve the chickens and lay the slices on top.

This is an interesting take on using the still newfangled lemon as an ingredient in fashionable cooking. Basically, it replaces the horseradish in the earlier recipe for boiled chicken, and we can very likely – with some caution – relate the instructions in either to apply to the other. Of course this way of serving chickens would be significantly more expensive than using horseradish, but I suspect that was the point.

The short Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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