The Stewpot Recipe Gallery
Gilded Chicken and Garlic
Elaina de Sinistre
A Boke of Kokery, Harleian Manuscript #4016, about 1450
(from the facsimile in Duke Cariadoc's Cookbook)
Take a chike, and drawe him, and roste him, and lete
the fete be on, and take awey the hede: then make batur of yolkes of eyron
and floure, and caste thereto poudre of ginger, and peper, saffron, and
salt, and pouder hit faire til hit be rosted y nough.
1 large roasting chicken
7-10 bulbs of garlic
ginger, pepper, saffron, salt
½ cup flour (I use Wondra)
Wash your chicken inside and out (remembering to remove anything left inside
by the butcher or grocer…).
Separate the bulbs of garlic into individual cloves and peel the cloves.
There’s a neat little tool that does this. It looks like a plastic
tube. You put the clove of garlic inside, roll the tube on the counter
a second, and out comes a neatly peeled bit of garlic. Or, alternatively,
you could set your scullery wench to peeling garlic for an hour or three.
[Editor's Note: As a third alternative, some membership warehouses
now sell jars of pre-peeled garlic cloves.]
Stuff the chicken with as many cloves of garlic as you can fit inside it.
Place the chicken on a rack in a pan and put it in a 350 degree F oven.
Separate the eggs and set the whites aside for some other use. Beat
the yolks until thick and light yellow. Add the spices (you choose
the amounts based on taste and availability). Beat some more.
Now begin adding the flour slowly (sprinkle it on) while beating.
Wondra flour works REALLY well for this – if you use regular flour I suggest
you sift it twice before adding it to the eggs. When all the flour
is beaten in your egg mixture should be bright gold and a little thicker
than it was to start.
After the chicken has cooked for 30-45 minutes, remove it from the oven
and brush on a generous amount of the egg mixture. Be sure to coat
all surfaces and get as far under the chicken as the rack allows.
Return to oven.
Repeat this process every 10 minutes or so until the chicken is done.
Number of Servings
This chicken recipe is based on a 15th century recipe for roast
chicken "gilded" with a basting of egg yolks. I have added to the
original recipe by stuffing the chicken with whole cloves of garlic.
In her book Food and Feast in Medieval England, P.W. Hammond
presents a strong case for the prevalence of garlic in the diet of the
lower classes. She shows garlic and onions being purchased in quantity
by households who did not grow their own, and analyses a number of period
recipe books to show that large amounts of leeks, onions, garlic, and cabbage
were used in pottages and other dishes prepared for the lesser members
of the household. Literary evidence for the use of garlic can be
found in both The Shepherd's Play - part of the Chester Mystery Cycle -
and the 14th century moral tale "How the Plowman learnt his Paternoster".
In both sources, garlic is listed as a staple food for the shepherd or
At medieval feasts, only the higher ranking guests were served every
dish, lower ranking guests and household members ate the leftovers after
their betters had been served. I felt that stuffing a chicken with
garlic would add to the savor of the meat - as carved at the high table
- and also provide an inexpensive and filling staple for those below the
salt who made their meal from the leftovers.
A Boke of Kokery, Harleian Manuscript #4016, about 1450 (from the
facsimile in Duke Cariadoc's Cookbook).
Hammond, P.W. Food and Feast in Medieval England. Alan
Sutton Publishing Limited, 1995.
Date Of Redaction