[Sca-cooks] History of the "stew" that is Chili
lilinah at earthlink.net
lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 21 11:45:23 PDT 2011
Anyone know the history of chili, the American dish of beans and/or
meat, tomatoes, chili pepper, etc.? On another SCA list i am on,
someone is claiming that it derives from Jewish adafina/dafina/tafina
The closest SCA period recipe i know of for adafina (without that
name) is in the anonymous 13th c. cookbook where it is identified as
A Stuffed, Buried Jewish Dish
Pound some meat cut round, and be careful that there be no bones in
it. Put it in a pot and throw in all the spices except cumin, four
spoonfuls of oil, two spoonfuls of penetrating rosewater, a little
onion juice, a little water and salt, and veil it with a thick cloth.
Put it on a moderate fire and cook it with care. Pound meat as for
meatballs, season it and make little meatballs and throw them [p. 21,
recto] in the pot until they are done. When everything is done, beat
five eggs with salt, pepper, and cinnamon; make a thin layer [a flat
omelette or egg crepe; literally "a tajine"] of this in a frying pan,
and beat five more eggs with what will make another thin layer. Then
take a new pot and put in a spoonful of oil and boil it a little, put
in the bottom one of the two layers, pour the meat onto it, and cover
with the other layer. Then beat three eggs with a little white flour,
pepper, cinnamon, and some rosewater with the rest of the pounded
meat, and put this over the top of the pot. Then cover it with a
potsherd of fire until it is browned, and be careful that it not
burn. Then break the pot and put the whole mass on a dish, and cover
it with "eyes" of mint, pistachios and pine-nuts, and add spices. You
might put on this dish all that has been indicated, and leave out the
rosewater and replace it with a spoonful of juice of cilantro pounded
with onion, and half a spoonful of murri naqi'; put in it all that
was put in the first, God, the Most High, willing.
Comments in [square brackets] from the translator, Charles Perry, who noted:
A version of adafina (from an Arabic word meaning "buried treasure,"
related to the word madfun, "buried," which is found in the name of
this dish), the Sephardic equivalent of the Ashkenazi dish cholent,
which could be left in the oven overnight on Friday so that Jewish
housewives wouldn't have to violate the Sabbath by cooking.
Nothing like chili (surprise, surprise) and not much like modern
adafina (North African) recipes i know or variations called
Hameen/Chamin (Middle Eastern) and Cholent (Ashkenazi, north eastern
Europe), depending on region. Each of the three dishes is basically a
hearty filling stew, prepped on Friday before Shabbat starts at
sundown. Since a fire cannot be kindled on Shabbat, and food cannot
be cooked during Shabbat in the usual ways, this dish was
traditionally put in a baker's oven and cooked slowly in the residual
heat and eaten on Saturday for lunch. (Shabbat ends Saturday at
sundown, when the new day starts, according to the Jewish calendar).
Nowadays, some people use crock pots with timers.
Most of the modern adafina recipes i turned up include rice, onions,
meat, and spices (no beans); sometimes dried fruit; sometimes those
eggs slow cooked overnight in their shells.
The Hameen/Chamin recipes also used rice, no beans.
Ashkenazi Cholent recipes i found often included(New World) beans,
along with meat and onions, although some used potato, others used
barley, and yet others included two or all three of those filling
So, is there a chili equivalent early on, before New World beans made
it to northern and eastern Europe?
on the cusp of Oakland-Emeryville-Berkeley
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