Saturday, September 28, 2013

Medieval cooking - Sauce Galentyne and Powme Dorrys

In the last six months or so, I have become quite interested in medieval and renaissance cooking, and have been trying my hand at a few recipes. I am particularly interested in recipes that I am unfamiliar with or which contain ingredients that I have not tried before.

I made Powme Dorrys and Sauce Galentyne in August. The recipes come from Liber cure cocorum - which can be found online at

Sauce Galentyne

"Take crust of bread and grind it small, take powder of galingale and mix with all,
Powder of ginger and salt also; Mix it with vinegar ere you do more,
Draw it through a strainer then, And serve it forth before good men."

I used:

1 and a quarter cups of white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 cup of white wine
70g chopped and pounded fresh galingale
1 and a quarter cups of breadcrumbs
three quarters of a teaspoon powdered cinnamon.

The cinnamon and wine were added because they show up as ingredients in other versions of Sauce Galentyne recipes (e.g. p. 562 of Take a Thousand Eggs or More Vol. 2- from Ashmole MS 1439 and Harleian MS 4016.) I thought these ingredients would make for a richer sauce.

I was unable to obtain powdered galingal, so had to use the fresh root. Pounding fresh galingal is not an easy task. The piece I obtained was quite fibrous and woody. I believe that this sauce is normally a pink colour. Mine turned out beige coloured; I think because of the fresh galingal. Next time I make it, I might reduce the vinegar by a quarter of a cup.

I mixed the ingredients and let them soak, then passed the mixture through a sieve.

The strained sauce.

I wanted to try this sauce because it sounded interesting; I couldn't imagine that it would taste very nice. Although it tended to separate in the serving dish, it was actually a really tasty and piquant sauce that would be great with any meat. My family are unaccustomed to medieval flavours but were really impressed with this sauce as well.

The Powme Dorrys or Glazed Meatballs seemed perfect to go with this sauce.

Powme Dorrys (also from Liber cure cocorum)

"Take pork and grind it raw, I teach,
Mix it with beaten eggs; then
Cast powder to make it in a ball;
In boiling water you shall cast it
To harden, then you take,
Spit it fair for God's sake.
Baste it with yolks of eggs then
With a feather at fire, as I teach you;
Both green and red you may make it.
With juice of herbs I undertake;
Hold under a dish that naught be lost,
More commendable it is
as well you know."

I substituted chicken mince for pork mince as many people in my barony do not eat pork. I added small amounts of salt and pepper, and used rice flour as the powder to "make it in a ball". A wise friend who tasted the dish suggested that the "powder" mentioned in the recipe may have been Powdre Douce or a similar spice/seasoning powder commonly used in medieval cooking. Once she mentioned it, I couldn't believe that I hadn't thought of it. Using Powdre Douce or similar would make these meatballs much tastier. On their own they were a little bland (but very good with the sauce above.) I would also like to try this again using pork mince for a richer taste.

I used:

1 kilogram of chicken mince
One quarter cup of rice flour 
salt and pepper to taste
extra rice flour for rolling
2 eggs to bind
2 egg yolks for basting
(makes approximately 55 rum-ball sized balls)

Mix flour, mince, 2 eggs and salt and pepper to an even consistency. Make small balls with hands and roll lightly in the extra rice flour. carefully drop balls into a shallow pan of boiling water and boil for 10-15 minutes (depending on size of ball and whether doing in one or two batches.) When cooked, drain.
Add cooked balls to a bowl containing well beaten egg yolks and coat until all balls are yellow. I fried mine lightly in a small amount of olive oil.

I omitted the herb juice dressing at the end because all I had at the time was spinach and sage, and because I planned to serve them with a sauce anyway. 

These meatballs would also be good with garlic and onion powder added and cooked in chicken stock instead of water.

The boiled meatballs being coated with egg yolk prior to frying.

The fried meatballs showing lovely colour and slightly crisped surfaces.

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