Chicked Stewed in Wine

Another recipe from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch, and an interesting parallel:

Poultry in the kitchen, mid-sixteenth century painting courtesy of wikimedia commons

69 Steamed Chickens

Roast the chickens until they are done, as is proper. Then put them into a pot in one piece and pour in Malvasier (malmsey wine) and a good Drisanet (spice mixture). Let it cook down (einpraten), thus it will gain a thick sauce (bruelein) the colour of liver (leberfarb). Cover it so the scent does not escape (es nich außriech). Season it as it requires and you see fit.

Chickens are roasted, then put into a closed pot and steamed with spices and high-quality wine. There are not a lot of details to go by, but the basic principle is easy enough to grasp. Interestingly, there is a similar recipe in the recipe collection of Sabina Welser (again) that I redacted for my Landsknecht Cookbook:

To make steamed capons

Take a good capon or more, stick it well about with cloves, mace and nutmegs, cinnamon, ginger and not much salt, and then take a pewter pitcher that the capon can fit into. Cover it well so that no steam can escape, then pour in a maß of reinfal or malvasier (Ribolla gialla or malmsey, two very upscale wines) with the capon, place the pitcher with the capon into a boiling cauldron and let it boil in there for three or four hours. Close it up well so no water can get in, seal the lid with dough and tie a small linen cloth around it, and you will have a good dish.

(Sabina Welser #1)

The technique is more refined, with a bain marie method ensuring a low cooking temperature, and I assume the capon is not cooked beforehand, but the result that is aimed for seems similar in principle, and the name is strikingly so. Of course, both recipe collections were produced in Augsburg in the 1550s, so similar terminology and preparations are not surprising. I think this is the same dish by the lights of contemporaries, realised according to the technical and financial capabilities of a given kitchen.

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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