Medieval Pork Pate... and some other stuff

My experiment with Babylonian cooking went really well. This week I decided to fly through time and space to try a couple of Medieval English recipes and one Roman one. More turnips! More leeks! Boy, were these two (obviously hardy and easy to grow) veggies ubiquitous in centuries past. Which is fine by me; I love them. Turnips aren't too readily available in Scotland at this time of year, so again I used swede, or... turnip as it's known up here. Rutabaga to American folks.



One of the recipes I chose required; rue. It's not really used in cookery any more in Europe, though it is grown in gardens because it's quite pretty. Suggestions for alternatives to rue I found were fenugreek or a mixture of black pepper and clove. I went with the latter as I had cloves and black pepper on hand... and may have gone somewhat overboard on the cloves.

1 bunch turnips
3 tsp cumin
sprig of rue
3 tblsp honey
1 chicken stock cube in 150 ml water
2-3 tblsp boiled wine
2 tblsp olive oil

"Boil the turnips until almost cooked (it’s usually worth changing the water half-way through, to avoid bitterness). Drain turnips. Heat other ingredients in a pan and add the drained turnips. Heat through and serve."

Caboges in Potage (Spiced cabbage with leeks and onions); 

4 baby cabbages
1 large onion
2 large leeks
generous pinch saffron
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cloves
500 ml chicken or vegetable broth

"Slice cabbages and place in pan with vegetable broth and chopped onions and leeks. Add saffron (enough to colour the broth) and simmer over a low heat until the cabbage has started to soften. (Not too long - the cabbage should be slightly crisp). Add spices and adjust seasoning."

Mortreus de Chare (Pork mortrews, a sort of pate);

Pork - this should be meat from a roast, or chops, etc., which has been boiled until done, and then very finely minced ar ground by passing through a meat grinder or a food processor.
Unseasoned bread crumbs
Broth - use our recipe for Gode Broth (made without bread crumbs) or use any broth you'd prefer. The recipe calls for the use of the strained broth the pork was boiled in, but this may prove to be not as flavorful as broth made separately.
Ale - slightly flat.
Egg yolks
Ginger
Salt

"Combine the pork, bread crumbs, broth & ale in a pot - the mixture should be thick to very thick. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Beat in egg yolks - use enough to thicken the mixture to a stiff pudding-like or paté-like consistency; season with ginger and salt. Place in serving dishes. Sprinkle on a little ginger. Serve it forth!"
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The cabbages and turnip turned out to be nothing very special, to be honest. I find saffron an overrated spice (especially at its price) and the turnip was not much improved by any additions other than cumin. Cumin wins everything though.

The pork mortrews on the other hand; wow!

I actually used sausages. Specifically, Graig Farms organic traditional sausages which contain nutmeg, marjoram and thyme.

I fried three of these, along with a couple more and some bacon I was going to use in scones. After de-glazing the pan with some water and a few table spoons of ale (Speyside Bottlenose Bitter, a red ale) I chopped up the sausages and left them to cool while I dealt with the turnip and cabbage.

I have a big old mortar and pestle, so I went the traditional route and ground up my breadcrumbs (one slice of a home made, plain white loaf) in that, then added the sausages and pounded it into a good mush. After adding a quarter of a Kallo organic chicken stock cube (the rest went in the cabbage and turnip) to the porky ale I threw in the sausage mix and boiled it up, mixing and mushing it with a fork.

I used two egg yolks to thicken it up, one at a time, and then let it bubble away, mixing continuously, until it was very thick with a creamy texture. It got a good sprinkle of salt and ground ginger and then I spooned it out into two warm ramekins.
It was delicious. A mousse like texture and density, the subtle herbs and spices not overpowering the pork. Ginger and pork.; nice combo (along with the nutmeg, etc obviously). It went rather well with the turnip too. Highly recommend, and it's just as tasty served cold the next day.

Maaaaybe too much turnip >_<
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