Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Anglo Saxon Recipe: Braised Fennel with Ginger

Courtesy of The British Museum Cookbook by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson (British Museum Publications, 1987), comes this recipe for braised fennel with ginger. The original version of this recipe is from Forme of Cury, which is a collection of 196 recipes copied by Richard II's scribes at his cooks' directions.

Fenkel in Soppes

1.5 lb fresh fennel root; trimmed, cleaned, and cut in matchsticks
8 oz onions, thickly sliced
1 tsp (heaped) ground ginger
1 tsp (level) powdered saffron
0.5 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 fl oz or 2/3 cup (each) dry white wine and water
6 slices (thick) coarse wholewheat or wholemeal bread (optional)

Put the fennel in a wide, lidded pan with the onions. Sprinkle with the
spices and the salt, then the oil, and finally pour over the liquids. Bring
to the boil, cover and simmer for 20–30 minutes or till the fennel is
cooked without being mushy. Stir once or twice during the cooking to
make sure the spices get well distributed. Serve it alone with roast
meat or griddled fish, or place one slice of bread on each warmed wide-mouthed soup plate, cover it with the fennel, and pour over the juices. Serves 6.


Nicola Cornick said...

Oh my goodness! We made a recipe very similar to this last week. It was in a cookery magazine. I had no idea it was Anglo Saxon though. How fascinating. I'm not usually a fan of fennel but it tasted delicious.

Keira Soleore said...

What a coincidence you made it at home! I would never have thought fennel was available in the Isles back then. When I found the recipe, I was skeptical, but after some digging around it sounds quite possible.

If the bulb is tender, fennel is quite delicious! But it's tough or old, then the flavor's stronger and it's harder to eat--the dish overall just falls flat.

Nicola Cornick said...

I have to admit to not being a huge fan of fennel but this particular recipe was very nice.