Medieval Lamb Stew


Welcome to our early Italian kitchen!
Today we propose a simple and delicious course based on the early-medieval source attributed to the Goth cook Vinidarius. The Latin manuscript dates back to the 8th century, but the author lived probably during the 5th or 6th century. We find this collection of recipes within a manuscript of the book attributed to Apicius, the most famous cook of Ancient Rome. Vinidarius’ book shows a significant influence from his predecessor. We can consider this text as a fundamental example of the cooking habits during the late-antique and early-medieval ages.

600gr lamb
1/2 leek
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garum
100 ml red wine

Chop the lamb in little pieces. Pan-fry the leek with olive oil then, in the same pan, brown the lamb. Add a little garum and 100 ml of red wine. Cook the stew for a couple of hours.
We choose to add the coarsely-chopped cilantro at the end of cooking not to alter its flavor, differently from the original recipe translated below.
Agnum Simplicem 1.jpg


What is garum and how you can substitute it
Garum is a fermented fish sauce you find in the ancient Mediterranean culture. Its purpose is to increase the taste intensity of meat, fish, vegetables and other dishes. It is salty, so we suggest to use it in moderation.
You can either buy it from makers of early-cuisine products or use South-East Asian fish sauces instead, produced in the same way of garum. You cannot substitute it with too-salty and fishy ingredients, like the colatura di alici, a traditional Campania sauce made from anchovies.
If you don’t appreciate garum, you can replace it with salt in all the recipes.
Agnum Simplicem 2.jpg

Original Recipe Text
De agno decoriato facies copadiola, lavabis diligenter, mittes in caccabo. adicies oleum, liquamen, vinum, porrum, coriandrum cultro concisum. Cum bullire coeperit, saepius agitabis et inferes.

Slice the skinned lamb in little pieces and wash it carefully. Put it into a pan. Add oil, garum, wine, leek, and knife-chopped cilantro. When it starts boiling, stir it frequently. Serve it.

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