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Fystes of Portingale
Arwen Southernwood

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Original Recipe

How to make fystes of portingale

(The Good Huswife's Handmaid, 1594)
Take a piece of a leg of mutton, mince it smal and season it with cloves, mace, pepper and salt, and Dates mixed with Currans, then roll it into round rolles, and so into little balles, and so boyle them in a little beefe broth and so serve them foorth. 



1 pound ground lamb, beef, or a mixture of the two 
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground 
1/2 teaspoon mace, ground 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 cup dates, chopped 
1/4 cup dried currants, whole 
1 quart beef stock

Preparation Steps

    Mix all the ingredients except for the stock.  Form into balls a little bigger than an egg yolk.  Poach in the beef stock for 5-7 minutes, or just until done.

Redaction Notes

For the reception buffet at Costume Collegium V, I bought legs of lamb and ground them myself to make this dish.  They turned out wonderfully!  However, since I have many friends who do not care for lamb, I often make these with beef, or a mixture of lamb and beef.  If using beef, add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the mixture. 

The leftover stock will be very rich and meaty.  Drain off any fat, and save the stock for use in another dish, or if you are pre-cooking these for a feast, save the stock to "re-poach" them just before serving


  • de la Falaise, Maxime (a.k.a. McKendry, Maxime).  Seven Centuries of English Cooking.  Arabella Boxer, editor.  Grove Press, NY, 1992.

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