[Sca-cooks] medieval boil-in bag meals

Robin Carroll-Mann rcmann4 at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 19 18:23:38 PDT 2007

Nick Sasso wrote:

>Ya' know, if you make that polenta out of coarse ground semolina, some broth
>and a little hard grating cheese, you are in the realm of Maetro Martino's
>recipe from 1600's Naples.
I made something along these lines for the Pennsic potluck.  It was 
based on two recipes from de Nola.


"You must take rice and wash it with cold water or tepid water three or 
four times; and when it is well-washed, set it to
dry on a wooden chopping block in the sun, and if there is none, near 
the fire; and when it is dry, clean it well of the
stones and filth; then put a very clean pot on the fire with meat broth, 
which is fatty and well-salted, and put it on the
fire; and when the broth begins to boil, cast the rice in the pot; and 
when the rice is more than half-cooked, cast in goat
or sheep milk, and for lack of these cast in almond milk; and cook 
everything in the pot, stirring it from time to time
with a large spoon so that it does not stick to the pot or burn; and 
when it is cooked, remove it from the fire and put the
well-covered pot inside a pannier or basket of bran, and leave it there 
to rest for a while, which should be for the space of
an hour or at least half.  Then take egg yolks and beat them well when 
you wish to prepare dishes, and cast them in the
pot, mixing them with the rice, and giving them a few turns with the 
large spoon.  Then prepare dishes, and cast upon
each one sugar and cinnamon.

"But note one thing, as I said in the chapter on semola: that in none of 
these pottages, such as rice, semola, farro, and
fideos, when cooked with meat broth, is it necessary to put in any kind 
of milk; but everything is according to the
appetites of the men who eat it; and with this pottage, there is no need 
to cast sugar upon the dishes; however, sugar
never harms the food; and the excellence is in this, that each one does 
according to his taste."

And the tail end of another recipe:


"...but as I have said in the chapter on rice, many say that with 
pottages of this kind which are
cooked with meat broth that one should not cast in either sugar or milk, 
but this is according to each one's appetite; and
in truth, with fideos or rice cooked in meat broth, it is better to cast 
good grated cheese upon the dishes."


I cooked rice in chicken broth -- chicken and mutton being the most 
common meat broths mentioned in de Nola -- and stirred in grated cheese 
at the end.  I was hoping for manchego cheese, but as Giant Eagle didn't 
have any, I used a nice aged Italian provolone.  It was pretty good, 
though next time I would use more salt.  I thought the cheese would add 
enough saltiness. 

Incidently, the broth had almost no salt.  It was a boxed variety from 
the "organic" section, and had only 95 mg of sodium per 8 oz. serving, 
which is pretty amazing.  It wasn't cheap, but of the prepared broths 
that I've tried, it's the closest to homemade.
(Note: the same company makes other chicken broths, most of which have a 
higher salt content.)


Brighid ni Chiarain
Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom
Robin Carroll-Mann *** rcmann4 at earthlink.net

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