Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

186 cookbooks – Chicken with fennel

That’s right. This time I’m going medieval on dinner.

And you know what that means, don’t you? Huge slabs of roast boar or whatever. Diners gnawing on bones, letting the grease run down to their elbows, then tossing the remains on the floor for the dogs. And apparently a horse in the dining room.

Well. Not exactly. Not all the time. After all, even six or seven hundred years ago the rich wanted to impress everyone with how sophisticated they were, and the middle class was busy either imitating the rich or showing each other how frugal they could be, and nobody else had the time to write down recipes for us.

And just like the cover says, this is French food and Italian food; even without tomatoes and potatoes, meals for serious foodies. Which recipe did I choose?

Fennel (left), parsley (right), almonds

Chicken with fennel – not fennel seeds, though that would probably be pretty good too, especially with tomatoes and a little garlic….never mind. Maybe I’ll try to invent that one for Saturday. But back to cookbook testing. Anyhow, medieval chicken with fennel calls for fennel leaves, parsley, and almonds. (Another time, I would leave out the parsley and use twice as much fennel.) In the middle ages, I suppose they mortared and pestled the seasonings together. I used a food processor, thank you.

So, you brown the chicken, add a little salt and a little water, cover, and let it cook mostly in its own juices for half an hour or so – I used chicken thighs because they have more flavor than breasts. When the chicken is done, stir the fennel etc. puree into the broth, plus about half a teaspoon of a mixture of pepper, ginger, and cinnamon. And this is what it looks like:

Pretty, isn’t it? And tasty. I suppose they would have eaten it with bread in the middle ages; I served it over rice.

A definite keeper.