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Meat of Cyprus bastarde
Arwen Southernwood

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Original Recipe

Vyaund de cyprys bastarde

Harleian MS 279
lxxxiij.  Vyaund de cyprys bastarde.  Take gode wyne, & Sugre next Aftyrward, & cast to-gedere; (th)enne take whyte Gyngere, and Galyngale, & Canel fayre y-minced; (th)en take Iuse of Percile & Flowre of Rys,& Brawn of Capoun & of Chykonnys I-grounde, & cast thereto; An coloure it wyth Safroun & Saunderys, an a-ly it with (y)olkes of Eyroun, & make it chargeaunt; and whan (th)ou dresset it yn, take Maces, Clowes, Quybibes, and straw a-boue, & serue forth. 



meat from 8 chicken breast halves (approx. 2 lbs.)
2 1/2 cups white wine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon galingale, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bunch parsley
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons rice flour
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon Saunders
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon mace
10-12 cloves
1/2 teaspoon cubebs

Preparation Steps

  1. Cook chicken in boiling, salted water until it is cooked through, about half an hour.  While the chicken is cooking, puree the parsley in a blender with the 1/2 cup water until it is blended smooth.  Strain the liquid into a bowl, being sure to squeeze out as much juice as possible.  You should have about a cup.
  2. When the chicken is cooked, reserve 1 tablespoon of the broth, and set the meat aside to cool until it can be handled.  Steep the saffron threads in the reserved chicken broth to bring out the color.  When the chicken has cooled slightly, mince it very finely, either by hand or using a food processor.
  3. Combine the wine and sugar in a large cookpot and stir over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add ginger, galingale, and cinnamon and simmer gently for about ten minutes to blend the flavors.  Reduce heat and add the chicken, parsley juice, rice flour, saunders, and the chicken broth/saffron mixture, and mix thoroughly.  While stirring constantly, pour in the egg yolks.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  4. Grind the mace, cubeb, and cloves together in a mortar or spice grinder and sprinkle over the chicken mixture just before serving.

Number of Servings

Not given.

Serving Size

Not given.

Redaction Notes

This is a redaction of a recipe from the Harleian MS.  I chose it because it utilized many of the spices I brought back from a trip to Pennsic:  namely cubeb, galingale, saunders, and saffron.

Due to limited time, and also because I did not wish to aggravate old repetitive stress injuries in my wrists, I used a food processor to grind the chicken, rather than chopping it by hand.  I also used a blender to puree the parsley for the same reasons.  This resulted in a greater degree of consistency in the finished dish than would have been achieved otherwise.

Two of my spices were also more finely ground than they would have been in a medieval kitchen, as I used powdered cinnamon and ground my galingale finely in a spice grinder.  I decided that a more even distribution of flavors, along with the benefit that diners would not have to spend half the meal picking tree bark out of their teeth, made up for a less authentic technique.

The original recipe does not mention steeping the saffron in chicken broth to bring out the color, but I have used this technique before with great success, and so I chose to use it here.

As this was originally presented as an entry in an Arts and Sciences competition, the finished dish was presented in a modern chafing dish in order to hold it at a safe temperature until judging was complete.


  • Redon, Odile; Sabban, Francoise, and Serventi, Silvano.  Medieval Kitchen:  Recipes from France and Italy.  Edward Schneider, trans.    The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1998.
  • Renfrow, Cindy.  Take A Thousand Eggs Or More, Vol. I.  Second Edition.  U.S., 1998.
  • [Author's Name].  [Book Title]. [publisher, year]. [page numbers].

Date Of Redaction

Originally prepared for the Caerthen Culinary and Performing Arts Collegium & Competition, August 29, A.S. XXXIII (1998 c.e.).

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