Magribi fowl well-dressed with a creamy spiced nut sauce and many garnishes
This was an entry in a Moroccan focused cooking competition. There are, in fact, no surviving medieval Moroccan cookbooks. Fortunately there are some recipes identified as Moroccan in the 13th century so-called anonymous Andalusian cookbook.
There are some who make it fried and immerse it after frying in this sauce, with garlic pounded with almonds and walnuts.
Then make well-made thin breads of white flour. When done, break them into crumbs the size of a dinar. Strain [the bones] from the chicken broth and return the pot to a moderate fire and add a quantity of oil, pepper and cumin. When the pot boils, take it off and put in garlic pounded with walnuts, almonds and cheese grated on the iskalfaj. Add these crumbs and then take the roasted chicken and put it on top of the platter after rubbing and rolling in the sauce. Top it with eggs, olives and split almonds. Dust it with grated cheese and cinnamon and cover it with a sheet of isfîriyya made with egg.
This recipe is number 381 in the 13th century anonymous Andalusian cookbook.
Cooking the Fowl:
1. Clean fowls and split breast.
Making The Sauce:
1. Break thin breads into crumbs the size of a dinar (a large coin)
Preparing To Serve:
1. Rub and roll the roasted chicken in the sauce.
I used the recipe below as the format for the basic cooking of the birds. I cooked them in a few Tb. of olive oil, and the quantities of ground coriander seed, salt, and pepper listed above, as called for in the first part of the White Tafâyâ recipe, below. I did not follow the recipe after the point where it calls to add the meatballs. After all, as directed in the Lamtuniyya recipe, the birds are only to be partially cooked by this method, and they will have their own sauce.
I could find no individual recipe for isfîriyya. The only other mention i found for isfîriyya was in Andalusian recipe, #113. Tharda of Khabîs with Two Chickens, in which it says:"Then take the breast of the second chicken and make isfîriyya with it, with pepper, cinnamon, and two eggs or however many are needed."What this means is not entirely clear. However, since the breasts of chickens are often ground or shredded in Andalusian recipes, I suspect this is like an omelet or Spanish frittata, in which the ingredients are mixed together, then fried or baked in a pan.
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