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Medieval Recipe Translations

Beef y-Stywyd

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Stewed beef ribs


.vj. Beef y-Stywyd. Take fayre beef of þe rybbys of þe fore quarterys, an smyte in fayre pecys, an wasche þe beef in-to a fayre potte; þan take þe water þat þe beef was soþin yn, an strayne it þorw a straynowr, an sethe þe same water and beef in a potte, an let hem boyle to-gederys; þan take canel, clowes, maces, graynys of parise, quibibes, and oynons y-mynced, perceli, an sawge, an caste þer-to, an let hem boyle to-gederys; an þan take a lof of brede, an stepe it with brothe an venegre, an þan draw it þorw a straynoure, and let it be stylle; an whan it is nere y-now, caste þe lycour þer-to, but nowt to moche, an þan let boyle onys, an cast safroun þer-to a quantyte; þan take salt an venegre, and cast þer-to, an loke þat it be poynaunt y-now, & serue 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.


Stewed Beef. Take fair beef of the ribs of the fore quarters, and smite in fair pieces, and wash the beef into a fair pot; then take the water that the beef was washed in, and strain it through a strainer, and boil the same water and beef in a pot, and let them boil together; then take cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs, and minced onions, parsley, and sage, and cast there-to, and let it boil together; then take a loaf of bread, an steep it with broth and vinegar, and then draw it through a strainer, and let it be still; and when it is nearly done, add the liquid there-to, but not to much, and then let boil once, and add saffron there-to a quantity; then take salt and vinegar, and add there-to, and look that it taste poynaunt enough, & serve forth.


  • Beef ribs
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Cloves (powder)
  • Mace
  • Grains of Paradise (or substitute Cardamom)
  • Cubeb (or substitute Black Pepper)
  • Onions, minced
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Sage
  • Unseasoned Bread Crumbs
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Saffron or a few drops of yellow food coloring
  • Salt

Place the ribs in a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil; add all spices except saffron & salt & reduce heat to a simmer. Continue simmering until the beef is completely cooked. Remove some of the broth; with a wire whisk, thoroughly blend the broth , red wine vinegar, & bread crumbs into a smooth gravy-like consistency. When the beef has cooked, add some of this mixture to the pot, just enough to slightly thicken the broth. Be sure that this thickening agent has thoroughly blended with the broth. Return to a boil and cook for several more minutes. Reduce heat, add salt to taste and enough additional vinegar to give it a slightly sharp taste - it needs to be "poynaunt." Remove the cinnamon sticks. Serve forth!


A Boke of Gode CookeryMedieval Recipe Translations

Beef y-Stywyd © 2000 James L. Matterer

Medieval Recipe Translations

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