I had an excellent time this past weekend at Dragon’s Mist’s Carnevale event. I was in charge of the kitchen, for the first time in ages, and I had a great time. We cooked lots of food, much of it was eaten, and people seemed to enjoy themselves. I mostly saw the inside of the kitchen.
Several people asked for the recipes, so I thought I’d post them here for reference.
We’ll start with the first course, and I’ll post the second course separately.
All the recipes are from Terence Scully’s translation of “The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570)”*
The first dish was chickens stuffed with a mixture described in Scappi as Book II, recipe 115.
To make various mixtures with which to stuff every sort of commonly eaten animal, quadruped and fowl, for spit-roasting.
Get four pounds of pork fat that is not rancid and with knives beat it finely together with two pounds of liver of a goat kid or of some other quadruped or commonly eaten fowl, and cut it up into small pieces, adding in beaten mint, sweet marjoram, burnet and parsley, four raw egg yolks, an ounce of pepper and cinnamon combined, half an ounce of ground cloves and nutmeg combined, half a pound of prunes, visciola cherries and morello cherries combined – in summer instead of those use gooseberries or verjuice grapes. Mix everything well together. Optionally you can put grated cheese, garlic cloves, or spring onions.
We used ground pork, left out the liver (I had lots, but it squigs some people out), and I didn’t have burnet. I used the dried tart cherries from Costco. We left out the optional ingredients. We stuffed the chickens (all 20 of them) and roasted them in the oven until they were very tender.
The second dish, which was the surprise hit of the feast, was a split chickpea soup. It was the thing that I got the most questions about.
II 192. To prepare a thick soup of split chickpeas in meat broth with other ingredients.
Get split chickpeas that are brown because the other sort are not good split, clean them of any dirt and wash them in several changes of warm water. put them into an earthenware or copper pot in enough cold meat broth to cover them by three fingers, and boil them slowly on the coals away from the fire. Using a wooden spoon, skim off the white scum that will form. Get the rind, snouts and ears of salt pork, which should be very clean and well cooked in unsalted water; bits along with a spoonful of fat broth tinged with saffron, and finish off cooking. At the end throw in a handfull of beaten herbs. Serve it in dishes with cinnamon over top. With those chickpeas you can also cook yellow saveloy and mortadella of pork liver.
You can also cook split lentils the same way.
It turns out that you can get split brown chickpeas at an Indian grocery store as “channa dal”. I’ve also tried this with yellow split peas, but I thought the chickpeas were better. I boiled the chickpeas in water to cover, and separately boiled some diced salt pork to remove some of the salt. When the chickpeas were about half cooked, I threw in the salt pork and a little of the broth from the pork, and finished cooking them. When the peas were done, we served them in bowls and dressed them with chopped fresh herbs (marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and sage) and cinnamon. So good, and super easy.
The last dish in the first course was
III 230. To cook stuffed eggplant in Lent.
Get eggplants and peel them. Through their small end dig out the inside – which can be done most easily after bringing them to a boil in hot water. Take that and beat it with knives along with aromatic herbs, old walnuts and almonds, both ground, a little grated bread, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and a small clove of garlic, ground up, adding in a little oil and verjuice. Stuff the eggplants with that mixture and set them on end, their opening upwards, in a pot of a suitable size. In that pot there should be oil, water, salt, saffron, and some of the above spices, with enough liquid to come more than halfway up the eggplants. Seal up the pot and boil it gently. When they are almost cooked, add a little grated bread and beaten fine herbs into the broth, ensuring that the broth has a spicy tang and a touch of bitterness. When they are done, serve them hot with that broth over them.
If you want to cook them in an oven, though, there is not need to peel them; only stuff them either with that mixture or else with oil, verjuice, salt, pepper and a small clove of garlic, and bake them. When they are done, peel them very carefully without breaking them. Alternatively, cut them through the middle and lift out the best part with your knife and serve that hot, dressed with orange juice and pepper. If it is not a fasting day, you can put grated cheese and eggs into the stuffing.
I wasn’t totally happy with the way this came out, but it wasn’t too bad. Earlier I tried parboiling the peeled eggplant and them hollowing them out, and it was a disaster. They turned to mush. This time we peeled them and tried hollowing them out without boiling, but it turns out that’s really hard to do. We ended up cutting them in half lengthwise and hollowing them out like boats. The stuffing was almonds and walnuts, (gluten free) bread crumbs, and the above spices, oil, and verjuice. I ended up baking them in trays, about half submerged in water. They were done through, but the eggplant stayed a little al dente for my taste. The taste was good, although they could have used more salt.
*Scappi, Bartolomeo. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L’arte et Prudenza D’un Maestro Cuoco. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008. Print. Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library.