A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Stwed Beeff

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 4016 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Beef ribs baked in a sauce of wine, currants, & onions


Stwed Beeff. ¶ Take faire Ribbes of ffresh beef, And (if thou wilt) roste hit til hit be nygh ynowe; theñ put hit in a faire possenet; caste þer-to parcely and oynons mynced, reysons of corauns, powder peper, canel, clowes, saundres, safferoñ, and salt; theñ caste there-to wyñ and a litull vynegre; sette a lyd oñ þe potte, and lete hit boile sokingly on a faire charcole til hit be ynogh; þeñ lay the fflessh, in disshes, and the sirippe there-vppoñ, And serve it forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


Take fair ribs of beef, and if you will roast it until nearly done; then put it in a fair pot; add parsley and onions minced, raisins of Corinth, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, sandalwood, saffron, and salt; then add to this wine and a little vinegar; set a lid on the pot, and let it boil well on a fair charcoal until done; then lay the flesh in disshes, and the syrup on top, and serve forth.


  • 8 lbs. beef ribs
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 large onions, minced
  • 2 cups currants
  • 1 Tbs. each pepper, cinnamon, & cloves (or use to taste)
  • 1 Tbs. red food coloring
  • few threads saffron
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 liters red wine
  • 1 ½ cup red wine vinegar
Roast or grill the beef until done; place in a large baking pan. In a separate pot, combine all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until currants are plump and soft and the onion is cooked. Pour this mixture over the beef; cover the baking pan with foil and place in a 400° F oven for ½ hour to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Place the beef on a serving platter and spoon on currants, onions, & syrup. Serve.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Stwed Beeff © 2000 James L. Matterer

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