"A Garlicy Dish"

from the 13th century Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook

Euriol and I had tied as winners of the Principality of the Mists Fall Investiture Iron Chef Feast, November 2001. Therefore there was a tie-breaker cook-off at the Principality of the Mists Spring Coronet, on 5 April 2002. The theme for the dish at Coronet was A Dish With Garlic.

I found this recipe in the 13th century Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook. Euriol served an Italian garlic tart - I didn't get to taste it but it looked rather like a quiche, which I generally like. In the end, I won with the following recipe.

Translation by Charles Perry

Take a plump hen and take out what is inside it, clean that and leave aside. Then take four uqiyas of peeled garlic and pound them until they are like brains, and mix with what comes out of the interior of the chicken. Fry it in enough oil to cover, until the smell of the garlic comes out. Mix this with the chicken in a clean pot with salt, pepper, cinnamon, lavender, ginger, cloves, saffron, peeled almonds, both pounded and whole, and a little murri naqi. Seal the pot with dough, place it in the oven and leave it until it is done. Then take it out and open the pot, pour its contents in a clean dish and an aromatic scent will come forth from it and perfume the area. This chicken was made for the Sayyid Abu al-Hasan and much appreciated.

[one uqiya is about one modern ounce]

Redaction by Anahita al-Qurtubiyya bint 'abd al-Karim al-Fassi, 2002

In honor of the noble gentles to whom I served this dish, and especially the Princess's delicate sensibilities, I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs and did not use any of the chicken's innards.

4 lb. chicken breasts and thighs (Note One)
4 ounces of garlic, peeled (Note Two)
3 Tb. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. lavender flowers (food grade)
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. powdered cloves
hearty pinch saffron, crumbled
1/2 c. ground blanched almonds
3/4 c. peeled whole almonds
1-1/2 Tb. murri naqi (Note Three)

  1. Puree peeled garlic.

  2. Heat oil in a heavy pot on medium heat, and cook garlic, stirring, until the smell of the garlic comes out. Take care not to let the garlic burn or brown.

  3. Put chicken in pot, spoon garlic over it, and add remaining ingredients.

  4. Cover the pot well, place it on a medium-low fire, and cook until done, stirring occasionally, and adjusting the heat, as necessary. I added about 1/2 cup of water to keep things from burning on the bottom, because I cooked the dish on top of the stove, not in the oven - i had recently moved and didn't have my baking dishes.

  5. When done, pour contents onto serving dish.

  6. For Prince Richard and Princess Elisabeth and others at the High Table, I cut the cooked meat into "fajita" sized slices, so it was all well coated with sauce. I put a ceramic plate on a brass charger, mounded the meat in the middle and decorated the edge with yellow and orange nasturtiums, which are edible, alternating with flat leaf parsley.

Note One: The original calls for a whole chicken cut up - use one about 5 lb. with the same quantities of spices as in the recipe above. A whole chicken would come with liver, heart, and giblets. When I tested this recipe, because I live alone, I used 2 chicken breasts with skin and bone. However, for the competition I wanted something easier for the High Table to eat, so I used skinless boneless breasts and thighs. Back

Note Two: Also, following the original recipe, one should puree the liver, heart, and giblets from the chicken with the garlic, then cook as in Step Two. Since I was using parts, I didn't have the organs to include in the dish I cooked for Coronet. Back

Note Three: I was gifted with a jar of murri made by His Grace, Duke Cariadoc of the Bow. However, since it isn't available commercially, you either have to make your own, following the redaction by Cariadoc on the 'net, or leave it out. In one of my test batches, I left out the murri. If you leave out the murri, you may want to add a little bit more salt at the table. Back

The 13th century Anonymous Andalusian cookbook is available in hard copy by ordering the two volume Cookbook Collection produced by Duke Cariadoc - for $20 you get about 2 dozen historical cookbooks - it's quite a bargain.

The Andalusian cookbook is also available on-line.

For info on the set, and the web version of the Andalusian cookbook, see

Happy Eating :-)
If you have any questions, let me know.

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Translation copyright Charles Perry,
modern recipe copyright Anahita, 2002

Page originally uploaded 14 May 2002

Page modified 14 May 2004