Brodium Theutonicum – Medieval Teutonic Chicken


A few weeks ago we prepared the Brodium Sarracenium from the Liber de Coquina, one of the most important sources for Italian medieval cooking, written around the end of the 13th century. As we mentioned back then, in this book we find a few recipes belonging to different cultures, probably rewritten by the author and changed according to his taste.
This time, we present a chicken recipe that the author calls Teutonic. We, clearly, do not know if it is authentic or just an interpretation by the author of a recipe he tasted or heard about, but it is in any case interesting as an example of a recipe perceived as foreign in 13th-century Italy.
This recipe is very simple, but the flavors are well balanced and incredibly good, in particular the broth with meat, herbs, and saffron as the only spice. It recalls a bit some recipes written by Johannes Bockenheim in his Registrum Coquine, in which the ingredients are few and well selected, creating in this way plates simpler than the average medieval ones, but delicious nevertheless.
There is no need to use all the herbs listed, but we suggest adding at least three to give enough complexity to the dish. In addition to the ones mentioned by the author, you can use cilantro, lesser calamint or pennyroyal (very similar to mint), fennel, dill, celery tops, sage, or oregano, all used in medieval cuisine. The recipe does not specify whether to use dry or fresh herbs. Follow your taste, using the ones you have at your disposal, and it will be good anyway.
The author recommends using capon or a fat hen. The fatness is important since, in this recipe, the author does not use further cooking fats. If you want, you can add a piece of fatter meat (such as mutton or beef) for a better outcome.

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1 hen

Cut the hen into pieces, then simmer it with two pinches of salt, adding more water when you need it, at the end just a little very concentrated broth should remain. Cook it for at least a couple of hours or more.
Mince the aromatic herbs and steep the saffron in water. If you prefer, grind the saffron in the mortar. When the hen is cooked through, add the saffron, enough salt, and the herbs, boiling for a couple of minutes. Serve the hen still hot with its broth.

Original text
De brodio theutonico: ad brodium theutonicum, recipe capones vel gallinas pingues et lixa fortiter. Mite cum eis petrosillum, mentam, maioranam, ros marinum, omnia tritta cum safrano, et distempera cum brodio eorum et mite parum ad bulliendum.

Teutonic broth: to make Teutonic broth, take capons or fat hens and simmer them for a long time [fortiter means, literally, strongly, but in this case it seems to refer to how much to simmer the meat]. Add parsley, mint, marjoram, rosemary, all minced with saffron, then dilute with the broth and boil for a little while.

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Registrum Coquine by Johannes Bockenheim. A medieval cookbook
Ancient Roman Cooking. Ingredients, Sources, Recipes

Translations of Historical Sources
De Re Coquinaria by Apicius – books 1-3
De Observatione Ciborum by Anthimus – first part (6th century)
Appendicula de Condituris Variis by Johannes Damascenus (8-9th century)
De Flore Dietarum (11th century)
Opusculum de Saporibus by Mainus de Maineris (14th century)
Anonimo Veneziano – first part (14th century)
Registrum Coquine by Johannes von Bockenheim (15th century)

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