Spicy Sauce for Venison

Another quick recipe from the Mondseer Kochbuch:

134 Sauce (Condiment) for roe deer roast

If you want to prepare a sauce (condiment) for a roe deer roast that you make out of it and want to keep, you shall not lard it and baste it with fat continually as it roasts. When it is roasted, let it cool. Take the crust of bread, pepper, ginger, caraway, and vinegar and grind this together and boil it up so it becomes evenly thick. Lay it (the meat) into the sauce. Also serve roast and roasted hare to lords in the same sauce.

This recipe is not particularly interesting or unusual. It uses the same combination of spices as the roe deer baked in as crust, which suggests this was an established flavour for venison. Other than that, it is a bread-thickened spicy sauce, the kind that is often referred to as a pfeffer in other sauces. These are quite common. The wording seems oddly reminiscent of the Harpestreng tradition’s salsa dominorum, but the two are not visibly related beyond the shared general principle.

I find the cooking instructions intriguing. Venison to be kept in a sauce – this is presumably a form of food preservation, a ready meal on hand – is basted, not larded. It may be something to do with the keeping qualities, but I have not tried the two methods to compare.

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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