PERIOD: France, 14th century | SOURCE: Le Viandier de Taillevent | CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: Whole chickens stuffed with meat, nuts, eggs, and spices, and glazed green and gold
66. Poullaille farcie: Stuffed Poultry. Take your hens, cut their necks, scald and pluck them, and be careful that the skin remains undamaged and whole, and do not plump the birds; then take some sort of straw and push it between the skin and the flesh, and blow; then cut the skin between the shoulders, not making too large a hole, and leave the legs with the feet, wings, and neck with the head still attached to the skin.
To make the stuffing, take mutton, veal, pork and the cooked dark meat of chickens, and chop up all of this raw, and grind it in a mortar, together with a great quantity of raw eggs, cooked chestnuts, a good rich cheese, good spice powder and a little saffron, and salt to taste. Then stuff your chickens and sew up the hole again. With any leftover stuffing make hard balls, using a great deal of saffron, the size of packets of woad, and cook them in beef broth and boiling water gently, so they do not fall apart. Then mount your chickens and the balls on very slender iron spits.
To glaze them or cover them with green or yellow: for the yellow, take a great quantity of egg yolks, beat them well with a little saffron, and set this glazing in a dish of some sort; and should you want a green glazing, grind the greenery with the eggs without saffron, and put this through the strainer and apply it; after your poultry and your balls of stuffing are cooked, place your spit in the dish with the glazing mixture two or three times and cast your glazing the full length of the spit, then put it back on the fire so that your glazing will take; and watch that your glazing does not have so hot a fire that it burns.
- Scully, Terence, ed. Le Viandier de Taillevent. An Edition of all Extant Manuscripts. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988.
To make the "eggs," take the remainder of the stuffing and mold it into small, egg-shaped balls. If your stuffing is too moist to work with, add enough bread crumbs to make a malleable mixture. Place the eggs on a well greased baking sheet and bake at 350° F for ½ hour, or until done. At this point, if you wish the eggs to match the hen in color, you may also brush the eggs with colored yolk, with a quick return to the oven to set the glaze. When ready, place along side the hen on its serving platter.
Walnuts make a suitable substitution for the chestnuts, an ingredient often not readily available.
Ideally, your hen and its eggs should be roasted on a spit, which was a staple of every Medieval kitchen hearth. Sadly, unless one is lucky enough to have a home rotisserie, roasting in an oven will have to suffice for the modern cook. Spit-roasting gives the eggs a wonderfully 3-dimensional effect, but roasting in an oven produces an egg which is flat on one side.
During roasting, some of the stuffing may pour out of the chicken from the back opening onto the baking sheet. This unattractive lump should be removed before placing the hen on the serving platter, for appearance's sake.
Here are two Poullaille farcie prepared for a Medieval dinner held in October, 1999.
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Poullaille farcie © 2000 James L. Matterer
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