PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: An Ordinance of Pottage | CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: A flavored red Almond Milk
56. Sauce Sarcenes. Make a thykke mylke of almondys; do hit in a pot with floure of rys, safron, gynger, macys, quibibis, canel, sygure: & rynse the bottom of the disch with fat broth. Boyle the sewe byfore, & messe hit forth.
- Hieatt, Constance B. An Ordinance of Pottage. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988.
GODE COOKERY TRANSLATION:
Saracen Sauce. Make a thick almond milk; blend well with rice flour, saffron, ginger, mace, cubeb, cinnamon, sugar: and rinse the bottom of the dish with fat broth. Bring to a boil, and serve.
Although the original recipe doesn't mention coloring the sauce red, the name Sarcenes (Saracen) implies that the color of the dish should be a deep red, in imitation of how Europeans viewed the skin coloring of Saracens, or Arabs. Similar Sarcenes dishes from the same collection of recipes specify the use of alkanet, a red dye from a plant root, as coloring. A modified Sauce Sarcenes is the main ingredient in Bruet Sarcenes.
Modern cooks might recognize the use of the thickened Almond Milk as a sort of Béchamel, or white sauce. White sauces, made of roux and cream or milk, are the basis of many modern gravies while Medieval sauces were often thickened with bread crumbs; Sauce Sarcenes seems to be an early version of the kind of gravies that are the norm today.
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Sauce Sarcenes © 2000 James L. Matterer
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