Salsa Camillina


Original:

Si vols fcr salsa cainilina fe let de metles que no sien parades ab brou de galliiies bo ; apres pica los fetges de lles gallines e destremba 1s ab la dita leyt, e mit ho a bollir e mit hi sucre e vi de magranes, o vinagre verme11 o de agror. Empero tota hora ha obs agror vermella e canyclla a la maior partida, he gingehra e d altres bones obres o species, e pebre axi com clavells, nou d esarch, nou noscada e de dues maneres, e sucre hlanch. E fe u molt bullir, e, quailt sera ben cuyt, asabora h o d e sal e de salsa, e de agror e de dolcor. E, si t vols, pots lii metre un parell de gallines o de capons d ast o de olla que y tengues una stona ab ella, e mit hi molt gres de les galliiies en ast.

[El Llibre de Sent Sovi, III, c.1325]

Translation:

If you want to make camel sauce, make almond milk out of unpeeled almonds with a good chicken broth.  After that, mince the chicken livers and blend them with the milk. Set it to boil, and put in sugar and pomegranate wine or red vinegar or verjuice – however, always be sure that it is red verjuice – and cinnamon as the largest portion, and ginger and other good spices and pepper, and the same with cloves, grains of paradise, nutmeg, two types of pepper, and white sugar.  Let it boil a lot, and when it is well cooked, flavor it with salt, spices, and verjuice and sweetening.  And if you want, you can put in a couple of roasted or boiled chickens or capons, which you should leave a while with the almond milk.  And put in a lot of the roasted chicken grease.

[El Llibre de Sent Sovi/The Book of Sent Sovi, III, c1325, Trans: Robin Vogelzang, 2008]

Ingredients:

Almonds Almond Milk
Chicken Broth
Chicken Liver
Oil
Sugar
Pomegranate Wine
Red Vinegar
Red Verjuice
Cinnamon
Ginger
White Pepper
Long Pepper
Grains of Paradise
Nutmeg
Salt

Redaction:

Cook one Chicken Liver in some Oil in a skillet.  Grind Liver in a Mortar and add back to the skillet.  Add two cups of Almond Milk and blend with the Liver.  Cook the sauce at a low boil.  Grind Long Pepper and Grains of Paradise and add to the sauce.  Add Red Vinegar (or Wine or Verjuice), Sugar, Ginger, White Pepper, Nutmeg, and Salt.  Add Cinnamon in a larger quantity than the other spices.  Sauce should thicken after about 30-45 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve with white meat.

Notes: 

Camel sauce:  sauce made with almond milk, citris juice or vinegar, sugar and various spices, primarily cinnamon.  We find recipes for this dish, very popular in all of medieval Europe, with important divergences regarding the forms of preparation, in multiple recipe books.  It has been suggested that the name of this sauce could derive from its color, similar to camel hair.

mince . . . milk: the procedure of grinding chicken livers and using them to thicken a liquid – almond milk or broth – was quite common, and we find other examples of it in Sent Sovi; see, for example, recipes V, VI, VII, or XXIV.

however . . . verjuice:  pomegranate wine and red vinegar, together with the cinnamon that, as indicated, should be added in considerable quantity, give the sauce its characteristic reddish-brown color.  Here the recipe insists that, if these two ingredients are unavailable, one should use some other type of acidic liquid, as long as it is just as red.

two types of pepper:  various types of pepper circulated at the time; however, the text mentions only <<long pepper>> (Chapter LX).  In the manual of market goods edited by Miguel Gual, long pepper and white pepper are cited and described (1981: 91, nos. 145 and 146).

white sugar:  sugar is mentioned twice in the present recipe ; it is probable, then, that <<white sugar>> refers to a more refined variety than the prior.

[El Llibre de Sent Sovi/The Book of Sent Sovi, III, c1325, Trans: Robin Vogelzang, 2008]

I was unable to obtain Almonds to make Almond Milk, so I used commercial Almond Milk.  The Chicken Liver would have been ground in a Mortar.  Since I do not have one of an appropriate size, I employed Herr Oster to do the job for me.  I do not have Pomegranate Wine or Red Verjuice so I used Red Wine Vinegar as recommended by the recipe.  I am also currently out of White Pepper, so it’s omitted from the dish.  The sauce turned out very well and I served it over Pork Chops for dinner.  My daughter polished off her plate, so I will take that as a positive reaction.

Bibliography:

Si vols fer Salsa Camillina.” In El Llibre de Sent Sovi / The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval Recipes from Catalonia, edited by Joan Santanach, translated by Robin Vogelzang, 48-9.  Barcelona: Barcino-Tamesis, (c.1325) 2008.

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