Beans in a Pfeffer Sauce

It’s another full day, but I want to throw out this recipe today. From the Mondseer Kochbuch:

Fava beans courtesy of wikimedia commons

29 How to prepare a condiment sauce over beans

Boil green (i.e. fresh) beans until they are soft. Then take fine bread and a little pepper, and three times as much caraway. Grind it together with vinegar and with beer, add saffron, and pour off the broth. Pour on the ground (sauce) and salt it in measure. Let it boil up in the condiment sauce and serve it.

The sauce described here is not unusual in any way. Spicy sauces thickened with bread were known widely as pfeffer, pepper sauces, a word we still find preserved in dishes like Hasenpfeffer. This is one of the fairly rare instances of a vegetable dish prepared with one, though. The beans referred to here are, of course, fava beans, not the phaseolus we call ‘green beans’ today. Those are New World cultivars. Other than that, the recipe is straightforward and I look forward to trying it out.

The Mondseer Kochbuch is a recipe collection bound with a set of manuscript texts on grammar, dietetics, wine, and theology. There is a note inside that part of the book was completed in 1439 and, in a different place, that it was gifted to the abbot of the monastery at Mondsee (Austria). It is not certain whether the manuscript already included the recipes at that point, but it is likely. The entire codex was bound in leather in the second half of the fifteenth century, so at this point the recipe collection must have been part of it. The book was held at the monastery until it passed into the Vienna court library, now the national library of Austria, where it is now Cod 4995.

The collection shows clear parallels with the Buoch von guoter Spise. Many of its recipes are complex and call for expensive ingredients, and some give unusually precise quantities and measurements. It is edited in Doris Aichholzer’s “Wildu machen ayn guet essen…” Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher: Edition, Übersetzung, Quellenkommentar, Peter Lang, Berne et al. 1999

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