Roast Chicken with a Trio of Sauces

Period sources don’t generally tell you how to roast a chicken; they assume that everyone knows how to do this. We’re taking a leaf from their book! These three sauces are good with roast chicken, but would probably taste great with a number of other meats.

Source for all sauces: An English Translation of Ruperto de Nola’s “Libre del Coch” (1529) by Lady Brighid ni Chiarain.

Original: Mostaza

You must take mustard seed, and clean it of the dust and the soil and the stones, and grind it well in a mortar; and when it is ground, strain it through a cloth strainer; and then take the mustard powder and put it in a mortar with a crustless piece of bread soaked in meat broth, and grind it all together; and when it is well-ground, blend it with a little bit of lean broth without fat which is well-salted; and when it is blended in a good manner so that it is not too thin, take honey which is good, and melted on the fire, and cast it in the mortar and stir it well until it is well-mixed, and prepare dishes. Some cast a little vinegar in the broth; you can add peeled, toasted almonds, ground-up with the mustard.

Redaction

¼ c each yellow and brown mustard seeds
1 slice wheat bread, crusts cut off
Broth (we used vegetable) – no more than 1 c
A scant ¼ c honey (or to taste)
1-3 T white wine vinegar (to taste)

  1. Grind mustard seeds. Toast bread; soak in enough broth to make bread very spongy.
  2. Mix seeds and soaked bread in food processor; add more broth to thin mixture (should be wet, but not liquidy).
  3. Add honey while machine is running; mix.
  4. Add vinegar to taste. If you don’t like the consistency, add more vinegar and/or broth.

Original: Perejil

You must take the parsley and remove the roots, and strip off the leaves very well and clean it; and grind those leaves a great deal in a mortar; and after it is well-ground, toast a crustless piece of bread, and soak it in white vinegar, and grind it with the parsley; and after it is well-ground, cast a little pepper into the mortar, and mix it well with the parsley and the bread. And then cast in honey, which should be melted, in the mortar, stirring constantly in one direction until the honey incorporates itself with the sauce in the mortar; and if the sauce should be very thick, thin it with a little watered vinegar, so that it should not be very sour; and having done that, take two smooth pebbles from the sea or river, and cast them in the fire; and when they shall be quite ruddy and red, cast them with some tongs in the mortar in such a manner that they are quenched there; and when all this is done, taste it for flavor. And make it in such a manner that it tastes a little of pepper, and a little sweet-sour, and of parsley; and if any of these things is lacking, temper [the dish] with it.

Redaction

½ bunch flat (Italian) parsley
2 pieces wheat bread, crusts cut off
About ¼ c white wine vinegar, plus extra to taste
Pepper to taste
A scant ¼ c honey

  1. Strip leaves from parsley; discard stems. Toast bread; soak in ¼ c vinegar – as above, let the bread get spongy.
  2. Pulse parsley in food processor to chop finely; add bread, pulse again to incorporate; add a few grinds worth of black pepper, mix.
  3. Add honey (while machine is running); taste. If the sauce does not taste much of pepper, add additional to taste.
  4. If the sauce does not taste sweet-sour, or you want it thinner, add additional vinegar.

Notes and Choices

We are guessing that the honey often available in period would have been more crystallized than what we get in the supermarket, and that the honey was heated to make it liquid and pourable. Thus, we skipped this step. On quenching the small hot pebbles in the sauce: we’re confused. We can’t imagine this would heat the sauce significantly and are guessing this was done to change the balance of the four humors in this sauce. We skipped this step, too.

Original: Salsa de Rabano Vexisco y de Gallocresta

In the same manner as the parsley, you can also make sauce from the root of the horseradish. And the same from the leaves of clary sage.

Redaction

Make perejil recipe, substituting about half of a large (peeled) fresh horseradish root for parsley. Wait a few moments after grinding to add bread-in-vinegar, as grinding the horseradish is what releases the sharp flavor, and this flavor develops more strongly over a few moments; adding the vinegar will ‘freeze’ the flavor – so how long you wait influences how sharp the sauce will taste. If you aren’t happy with the consistency at the end, you can thin with vinegar, honey or broth (we used vegetable). Personally, we like this sauce with a little more honey than with the parsley sauce; but make it to your own taste.

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