Salsa de Pago (Peacock Sauce)


Primerament Salsa de Pago: ffe brou de galliiies, o del calduin e de blascos de molto amb carnsallada. E, quan lo brou sera ben cuyt e espes, ages amelles pellades per .viij. sculdelles una liura e pica lles e fe n leyt ab aquel brou, e cola la, e priu los ventrells de lles gallines e fets los de tal1 de un dau, e dels cors dels conills e de les gallines asimatex, e niit ho a coseligar eii greis de carnsalada. E la olla que s soscnguara estiga e11 poch foch sol que los

greix bulla un poch, e tota ora hi ago sia menat. E n apres ages d altra carnsallada magra e grasa e vage en la sosengua. * E aso lleva [b] sovint del foch per tal que lo greix no S pusca cremar. E, com sera sosengat, ages cebes redones tallades segons que damutit es dit, go

es saber, la quarta part per de lles damunt dites coses e mit la a ssosengar, e deu esser tost asosenguada ; aso feyt gitats lo greix de Ila olla, ages agror de limons o de teronges o de magranes agres o de bon vinagre, mit n i .j. poch ; seque lla cantitat que auras sosengada, mit hi sucre o =el o d altra dolcor. Ages specks: nou.noscada e iiou d exarch e clavells, e la major partida sia canyella e gingebre e saffra, e de lles altres per sabor lii aga a donar, e mit na. a la dita sesenga. E n apres mit hi leyt dessus dita e posa ho a boliir una gr&n pessa. E, com veuras que sera ben cuyta, assaborats la [de] agror e de dolgor e de species, e tempra ho en manera que les species tiren tota la sabor de la dit3 salsa. Aquesta salsa no deu esser molt vermella, mas que sia de collor enffre canyella e saffra. E, com los pap o s deuran esser cuyts, tu ajes cullit del greix que can d ells e nlet ne en la salsa, encara mes del creis de les gallines " de aquel1 [c] de la olla. Empero mit hi per manera de grex que no t rot damunt

la salsa; mas empero que ella hi sapia. Encara mes hi bots metra, si t volls millor, so es, que y metes ales de gallines e de perdius ben picades. D aquesta salsa dona n pocha e que sia presa covinent. E 11s paguos [ h l o facats, o capons adobats, o en esta manera que,

si volls dar los paguos ab cap e ab coll e ab coha, sagnaras los paguos en la bocha e faras ne exir la sanch, e aso faras al vespre, e après fan a plomar tots sino lo coll e la coha e lo brac. E lavors metras los en ast e ligar los has los peus ; eii apres enbolca li ab benes de

drap de li lo cap e lo coll e la coha de guisa que hom no veja la ploma. E apres posar 1 as al foch, e, com sia refredat, hajes lambordes de carnsallada que hajeii tres dits de lonch e met los hom en bestuns ; casciina de les broques haje un dau de taroiiga o d e carnsalada

magra. E, si 11s vols engarlandar, fetes garlandes axi com vulles, e niit el cap damunt una taronga e altra dejus en * que sti- [d] guen les garlandes ; axi ages fill de li he liga 11s el cap d un basto, banya 11 ab aygua ffreda e mule n los draps que te lo pao per 50 que no S cremen, e, com sia cuyt, al tallador desbolca 11 dels draps, e talla en manera d ocha.

El1 capo ha altre tal1 demunt en la cuxa, altra en les anques qui be ho cercha.

[El Libre de Sent Sovi, I, Ed. Luis Faraudo de Saint-Germain, c.1325, 1952]


Firstly, peacock sauce.  Make chicken broth or broth of intestines and mutton shanks with salt pork.  When the broth is thickened and well cooked, take peeled almonds, one pound for eight bowls [of broth], and grind them and make them into milk with the broth, and strain it.

Disembowel the chickens and dice the innards, and do the same with the rabbit hearts and the chickens.  Put them to fry in salt pork grease, and keep the pot where it will fry on a low flame, just enough for the grease to boil a little, and continue stirring this all the while.  After that, take another piece of slat pork, dried and fatty, to go into the mixture.  Take this away from the fire often, so that the grease does not burn.  And when it is fried, take round slices of onions according to what is said above – which is to say, a quarter of the things said above – and put them into fry, and it should soon be fried.  This done, pour the grease from the pot.

Take verjuice of lemons, oranges, bitter pomegranates, or good vinegar; put in a little bit, according to the amount that will be fried.  Put in sugar or honey or some other sweetening.  Take spices: nutmeg, grains of paradise, and cloves, with the largest portion of cinnamon, ginger and saffron, and other spices to give it the desired flavor; and put some in the fried mixture.  After that, put in the milk described above, and set it to boil a good while; and, when you see that it is well cooked, flavor it to taste with verjuice, sweetening and spices, balanced so that the spices draw the flavor of the sauce.  This sauce should not be very red, but more like a color between cinnamon and saffron.

And when the peacocks are done cooking, collect the grease that falls from them and put some in the sauce, and still more of the grease of the chickens in the pot.  However, put it in such that the grease does not overflow the sauce, just enough to give some flavor; Furthermore, if you want you can put in a better ground substance: that is, put in well-minced chicken or partridge wings.  Serve a little bit of this sauce, to be conveniently thick.

For peacocks, pheasants or capons prepared in this manner:  if you want to serve the peacocks with head, neck and tail, bleed the peacocks in the mouth to drain the blood; and do this in the evening.  After that, pluck all of the feathers, except for the neck, tail and head.  And then put them on the spit and tie them to it by the feet; after this wrap up the head, neck and tail with bands of linen cloth, in such a way so that one cannot see the feathers.  Then put the spit on the fire.

When it is cooked off, take slices of salt pork that are three fingers long, and put them on sticks.  On each of the skewers put a cube of orange or lean salt pork.

If you want to decorate the dish, make garlands as you like, and put an orange at the top and another on the bottom, so the garlands can be held there.  Take [cloths of] linen thread and tie them to the end of a stick; wet it with cold water and [use it to] moisten the cloths on the peacock so that they do not burn.  And when it is cooked, unwrap the cloths at the plate.  Carve it in the same way as a goose. 

The capon has another cut of meat above, in the thigh, and another in the leg, so look for it carefully.

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


Peacock (Chicken, Capon, Pheasant)
Almond Milk (Almonds, Chicken Broth)
Chicken Innerds (Rabbit Hearts)
Salt Pork (Salt Pork Grease) Bacon, Bacon Grease
Verjuiuce (Lemon, Orange, Bitter Pomegranate, Good Vinegar)
Sugar (Honey)
Grains of Paradise
Other Spices


Make Almond Milk with Almonds and Chicken Broth then set aside.  Remove Chicken Innerds then dice them.  Fry the diced Innerds in Bacon Grease on low.  Take round slices of Onion and add to the mixture.  When then Onions are done, remove the Grease from the mixture.  Add Vinegar, Sugar, Add a larger portion of Cinnamon, Ginger, and Saffron and a smaller portion of Nutmeg, Grains of Paradise, and Cloves.  Add the Almond Milk and set to boil to thicken.  After the Chicken is cooked, add some Chicken Grease to the sauce along with ground Chicken Liver.  Taste and adjust spices to balance flavor and process through a sieve.


Make Chicken . . . salt pork:  for a preparation of chicken broth, see below, Chapter XV.

milk: for <<almond milk>>, which could be prepared with water, as is proposed in recipe XXXIV, or more commonly, with broth, as in the present recipe or in chapters III, XIII, or XXVII, and also in Llibre del Coc, 57.

fry: for the medieval Catalan word sosengar (sofreigir in contemporary Catalan), there is no satisfactory English equivalent, although it is sometimes translated <<subfry>> or <<underfry>>.  The process involves slowly sautéing onion and other ingredients in oil or grease, until they achieve a soft, sauce-like consistency, this then becomes, as much in contemporary as in medieval Catalan cuisine, the flavorful foundation for a wide range of dishes.  Throughout Sent Soví, because the word appears so often, I have translated it <<fry>>, despite the English word’s obvious shortcomings, The noun sosenga refers to the mixture that one is cooking, and I have translated it as <<mixture>>, or at times for clarity, <<fried mixture>>.  Chapter VII, entitled sosenga details a specific preparation of a sosenga-based meat sauce.

take round . . . above:  in other words, the quantity of the onion should correspond to a quarter of the total fried amount (the preparation of which has just been described).

verjuice (agror):  a common medieval ingredient, verjuice was an acidic liquid, usually citrus juice or vinegar.

grains of paradise:  spice with a peppery taste, fruit of the Amomum grana paradisi, see its description in Llibre de coneixences d’espícies in GUAL CAMARENA 1981: 90, 110, 134.

put in . . . above:  a reference to the almond milk prepared at the beginning of the recipe.

Peacocks, as was common for dishes of fowl and other animals, were cooked on the spit apart from the sauce.

You can put in:  at this point the manuscript shows a probable leap between two like phrases, producing an omission of the following text <<ground chicken livers, well minced and passed through a sieve; and if you want to put in>> (fetges de gallines per comolt, ben picats, e passats per sedas; e, si hi vols metre).  The passage is recuperated from Chapter 44 of the Libre de potatges; cf. also the Llibre d’aparellar

bleed . . . mouth:  the Llibre de potatges, 1. Specifies that they should be bled <<in the mouth towards the ear, where they have the vein>> (dins en la boca envers l’orella, lla on tinen la vena); in this way one avoided beheading the animal and could carry out the presentation detailed in the recipe.  For the custom of serving peacocks with head and tail, see also Arte cisoria by Enrique de Villena (1954:87).

When it is cooled off:  halfway through cooking, when <<it has been stiff for a while>> (serà enregeat per una estona) as is indicated in the Llibre d’aparellar, it should be removed from the fire and left to cool, in order to grease it.

sticks:  for this procedure, see also Chapter LV.

linen thread:  it is likely the copyist has omitted some text here, such as <<cloths of>>; this passage, which is not conserved in the Llibre d’aparellar, has been somewhat modified in the Llibre de potatges, 1: <<at the end of the stick you will take cloths of towels or of thread napkins>> (al cap del bastó tu pendràs capcions de tovalles o de tovalloles de fil).

unwrap the cloths:  the purpose of the moist cloths was to avoid scorching the feathers of the head, neck, and tail while cooking on the spit: otherwise, one would not be able to present the garlanded peacock with the feathers in good condition.

For the way to carve peacock, and also goose, see chapters 24 and 25 of the Llibre de potatges.

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

Although the second half of the recipe and notes deal with the garlanding and presentation of the peacock, I am only reproducing the sauce.  The biggest takeaway from this recipe is the concept of the verb sosengar and the noun sosenga.  There is no true equivalent to these in English, yet they are a cornerstone in Catalan cooking.  In the translation by Robin Vogelzang, Sosenga is translated as Mixture and Sosengar is translated as To Fry.  The modern Catalan verb is  Sofreigir which, in Spanish, is Sofreír, translated as to fry lightly or to stir fry.  This is the root of the noun Sofrito which is a fundamental of modern Spanish/Catalan cooking which involves taking the ingredients and grinding them into a thick paste.

For the spices, the recipe calls for the largest portion of cinnamon and that the sauce should be a color between cinnamon and saffron.  I added too much Cinnamon so it overwhelmed the flavor and the sauce came out darker than intended.  In the future, I will back off the Cinnamon.


“Salsa de Pago.” In El Llibre de Sent Sovi / The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval Recipes from Catalonia, edited by Joan Santanach, translated by Robin Vogelzang, 43-5.  Barcelona: Barcino-Tamesis, (c.1325) 2008.

“Salsa de Paguo.” In El Libre de Sent Sovi / Recetario de cocina catalane medieval, edited by Luis Faraudo de Saint-Germain, 12-3.  Barcelona: Butlletí de la Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona, (c.1325) 1952, Vol.24, [Consulta: 23-08-2020].

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