Roe Deer Head from the Innsbruck MS

A short but complex recipe today, again from the Innsbruck MS:

Hunting Scene from the livre de la chasse of Gaston III of Foix courtesy of wikimedia commons

48 If you would prepare a dish from the head of a roe deer, boil it so that meat falls off it and chop that. Prepare chopped meat with this (ein gehackt von fleisch) and mix them together. Then take the forehead bones (hirren pain) both. Put the brain into them and wrap them in a sheet of eggs. Wrap the chopped meat around the other bones and roast them. Then spice them and do not oversalt them. When they are roasted, serve them roasted or prepare a ziseindel sauce or a pfefferlein sauce etc.

This is the kind of showy, complex dish that would have shown up on the table of someone who had hunting rights, a skilful cook, and resources to spare. I suspect it is based on a deer head that was boiled until the meat could be plucked off the bones and the fully cooked brain removed from the skull. Here, the skull is already opened, the brain prepared with a pastry casing, and the meat turned into a soft, spicy meat loaf that is then moulded around the bone and cooked a second time. The whole thing must have looked quite impressive if it was prepared by a skilled sculptor. It also seems to have been a popular recipe at least in theory as it shows up again in Cod Pal Germ 551, both A and B.

The Innsbrucker Rezeptbuch is a manuscript recipe collection from a South German/Austrian context. It dates to the mid-fifteenth century and survives as part of a set of medical and culinary texts bound together. The editor Doris Aichholzer published it together with two related manuscripts and drew attention to the less elaborate, more practical recipes. The manuscript is of unknown provenance, but has been owned by the Habsburg emperors since at least the early sixteenth century. It is now held at the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. An edition, German translation and commentary can be found in Doris Aichholzer: Wildu machen ayn guet essen… Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher, Peter Lang Verlag Berne et al. 1999

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *