How To Cook a Peacock:


Medieval Recipes

by Taillevent


Taillevent's fourteenth century Le Viandier is one of the earliest European cookbooks. It exists in at least four different versions. How To Cook a Peacock is Jim Chevallier's translation of the so-called Fifteenth Century version. It includes introductory notes and a detailed index.

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Free Medieval Recipes

These are just a few of the many (more or less detailed) recipes in Taillevent's Le Viandier - translated by Jim Chevallier as How To Cook a Peacock. For more, click on the image to download a preview and/or buy the book - or click on an image below to buy the book on Kindle or Barnes and Noble:

To see how one recipe was made across several centuries, see ONE RECIPE, SEVERAL CENTURIES

White Brewet Of Capons

Or poultry or veal, it is best to boil it and take the broth, once it is cooked, and to put it aside. Blanch the almonds, and crush them, and soak them in the broth of the poultry, capons or veal, and then strain the almonds through a cheesecloth, and take a reasonable quantity of powdered white ginger, and infuse with verjuice and white wine, and put a large quantity of large lumps of sugar to boil. When it is boiled, put the broth separately in a nice pot and also the meats (that is, the poultry, capon or veal), and, when serving it, put your meats in a dish with your broth.


Spanish Cretonnée

Take veal or poultry cut in pieces, and cook the meat, and fry with lard or any shortening you can find. Take almonds, and strain, and make milk of them or use milk if you have it, and take parsley and marjoram, if you have it, and throw a good deal in. Strain with the greenery, and, when the milk is boiled, you thicken as with eggs. Beat together ginger and assorted spices, and infuse with verjuice and white wine. When your soup is ready and thickened, put it in a pot. When it is time to serve, take hard-boiled eggs, and shell them and split them down the middle. Then fry them with lard. When the broth is in your dish, if you want to put your eggs on it, or browned toasts, they will look lovely there.

To Make A Mock Grenon

Take a pig buttock and cook it. When it is not too well cooked along the side, slice it up in large cubes, and take some small giblets of poultry, such as livers, gizzards, etc, and set them to cook. When they are cooked, slice up partridge, and fry them in its broth. Take white bread and soak it in the broth in which the pig was cooked if you have no beef broth and also mix in egg yolks with your bread. Add some ginger and a little saffron, some white wine and verjuice, and let the color soak in. After straining it through cheesecloth, boil it all together, without leaving it too long on the fire. Then put the broth in a pot, and season with salt.

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Fish Grané

Take pike, carp or other fish. Scale and fry the fish. Then toast bread, and soak it in purée of peas, strain it, and put in fried onion sliced large. Boil it all together, with ginger, cinnamon and various spices, infused with vinegar, and add a bit of saffron for color.

Cameline Sauce

To make a quart of cameline, brown bread in front of a good red fire, without burning it. Then soak it in very pure red Burgundy wine in a new pot, or a dish. Once it is soaked, strain through a cloth with red Burgundy wine. Then take a pint of vinegar and a quarter pound of true cinnamon, an ounce of ginger and a quarter of an ounce of assorted spices, and salt it well. Strain the bread and spices through the cloth, and put in a nice pot.

Apple Tart

Cut up apples into pieces, and put in figs. Clean grapes well, and put in with the apples and the figs, and mix well together. Add onion fried with butter or oil, and wine. Crush up part of the apples and soak in wine. Mix in with the other apples, crushed up, put with the surplus and add the saffron, a bit of assorted spices, true cinnamon and white ginger, anis and pygurlac, if you have any. Make two big pastry undercrusts. Put all the fillings together, well mixed by hand, on the thick paste of apples and other fillings. After put the top on it and cover it tightly, then gild it with saffron, put in the oven, and cook.

NOTE: pygurlac was probably a mistranscription of pignolat, a popular candy made of candied pinenuts - sort of a pinenut brittle, or nougat.

All translations copyright 2004 Jim Chevallier.
Please do not reproduce or post elsewhere without prior permission.

UPDATED August 24, 2022