Inspired by my hour with the Great English Bible of 1541, I checked out the book Tudor Cookery: Recipes and History by Peter Brears from my library.
I love this tiny cookbook for its easy recipe translations and its explanations of Tudor-era culinary trends and table manners. I pulled four recipes to try-the first was for Thick Mutton Stew.
The original recipe comes from A noble boke of festas ryalle and Cockery (A Noble Book of Feasts Royal and Cookery) printed approximately in 1500.
It’s for a dish called charmerchande, which was basically lamb stewed with sage and parsley. The recipe reads: Take coostes of motton chopped and putte theym in a fayre potte and sette it upon the fyre with clene water and boyle it welle; and thanne take percely and sage and bete it in a morter with brede and drawe it uppe withe the brothe and put it in the potte with the fresshe flesshe and lette it boyle welle togyder; and salte it and serve it.
Try saying “Fresh flesh” five times fast…. just kidding. This is a really quick dish to make on a weeknight… I had it on the table in 15 minutes! I served it over chunks of homemade bread with roasted sweet potatoes and turnips for a side dish. It was hearty and delicious and serves three people.
Here’s the modern translation.
One pound lean ground mutton
One cup water
Four slices bread, ground into breadcrumbs in the food processor or blender OR 1/2 cup prepared breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon sage
Brown the mutton in a deep, greased skillet. Drain, and add the water, bread crumbs, and spices.
Stir until the bread crumbs have absorbed most of the juices and the mixture is piping hot. Then take it off the stove and serve!