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Gos-Farced-art - 4/5/02


"Gos Farced & Endored - (Stuffed Roast Goose with golden glaze)" by Constance de LaRose. Good info on endoring. Medieval oven temperature curves. Imitating a medieval oven with a modern oven.


NOTE: See also the files: duck-goose-msg, hunting-msg, archery-msg, arrows-msg, butchering-msg, herbs-msg, ovens-msg, gilded-food-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



[This is a copy of the documentation that was submitted for one of Lady Constance's A&S contest entries.]


Gos Farced & Endored

(Stuffed Roast Goose with golden glaze)


by Constance de LaRose




This was a very involved project which could have been done as three entries if they were not so interdependent.  For that reason, I have provided below a brief summary of the project(s).  For more in-depth information, please feel free to read the complete documentation.


A. I killed the geese myself by shooting them with a long-bow.


B. I plucked, cleaned and aged the geese using period practices.


C. I researched and experimented with three different period stuffing recipes.  (and made my own sausage for one of them)


D. I researched endoring (gold glaze) techniques and compared them to period practices in egg tempera to come up with the proper recipe.


E. I practiced roasting birds in a medieval brick oven at a local resturant and developed methods to duplicate the effects of same in a modern oven.


F. I stuffed (with different stuffings), roasted, and endored the geese and presented them today.


G. I home grew all herbal ingredients used.



Why I chose to do this project:


A couple of years ago I was shopping for the Christmas Turkey and saw a frozen goose laying about there.  Since I had just finished having turkey for Thanksgiving, I thought I would try something different for Christmas and picked up that goose instead of the turkey I had come in to buy.  It was delicious and my husband requested that we have it more often.  So began our love affair with roasted goose.


Late last autumn, a friend offered to teach me how to hunt with archery on a game reserve, which he owned.  Never one to turn down a new learning experience, I traveled the 4 hours to his reserve and prepared to learn.  Early the next morning, he took me out near a lake and presented me with a slightly curved piece of wood (just a little bit taller than I am) with a string attached to one end.  With a big grin on his face, he told me that the first lesson was to attach the little loop on the end of the string to the other end of the piece of wood.  What he didn't tell me was that the piece of string was significantly shorter than the piece of wood.  Being a stubborn sort, I set about the task while ignoring the spectacle of my "instructor" rolling about on the ground laughing at the many ways I tried to attach that string.  Two hours later he stopped laughing when I finally managed the feat.


He then explained that he had given me a "longbow" since he knew I liked medieval things and that he never really expected me to be able to string it.  Since I now had the bow strung, he produced some arrows and proceeded to show me the proper stance and how to "nock" the arrow.  He told me that he would get a different kind of bow out of the car since I probably wouldn't be able to give a longbow enough strength in the pull.  Again my stubbornness asserted itself and I insisted that he let me give it a try.  He handed me an arrow and pointed to a flock of geese about to fly overhead saying "Fine, see if you can get an arrow up in that general direction".  I let an arrow fly and watched it bring down a goose.


My rather surprised instructor complimented me on managing such a lucky shot but pointed out that dropping the bow and shouting "I can't believe I hit one" is not exactly proper form.  He then instructed me to try again on the next flight of geese and handed me a new arrow.  When I managed to bring down another goose with the next shot, he demonstrated that proper form is to stand up and shout "Damn, I can't believe you hit another one".  However, he then refused to show me anything more about archery hunting.   So I packed my two geese into the car and headed for home.


When I arrived back home I dug out the cookbooks and found a period recipe for stuffed goose which also required parsley and onions (of which I have in abundance in the garden). Since I had good medieval ingredients home grown and two geese which I had killed with a medieval weapon.  And since I know that we like to eat goose, I decided that I would attempt redacting the recipe as a project that would be useful long after the next competition was finished.


Period Recipe:


        From Harleian MS. 279 (c. 1420)


"Capoun or gos farced.  Take parcely, & Swynys grece, or sewet of a schepe, & parboyle hem to-gederys til they ben tendyr: than take harde yolkys of Eyroun, & choppe for-with: caste ther-to pouder pepir, gyngere, canel, cafroun, & Salt, & grapis in tyme of yere, & clowys y-nowe: & for default of grapis, oynons, fyrstwil y-boylid, & afterward all to-choppyd, & so stuffe hym & roste hym, & serue hym forth. And gif the lust, take a litil porke y-sode, & al to-choppe hit smal a-mong that other; for it wol be the better, & namely for the Capoun."


How I did it:



First the geese had to be dressed.  As soon as I returned home, I chopped off the head of the geese. I then hung them from a rafter in the basement with newspaper and a large bowl beneath and left them to drain.  The next day I took down the geese and plucked all of the feathers.  Considered keeping all of the feathers for some future project but decided that I had enough on my plate and was too tired to clean and dry all of them so I just threw them away.  Next I made incisions at the tail and neck and carefully pulled out the innards. Once the organs were removed and quickly transferred to the garbage, I rinsed the remaining body inside and out with cold water, rubbed about 1/4 cup of salt over the whole thing. I again hung them from a rafter in the basement to age until the next day when I wrapped them in freezer paper and put them in the freezer to await this competition.



The recipe gave two variations in ingredients for the stuffing, one with grapes and one with onions.  Since I had two geese, I decided to make one with each variation to see (and taste) the difference.  I also decided to try the alternative of sausage with the onion dressing as "Curye on Inglysch" defined the word farced in the recipe as "forcemeat, ground meat or meat substitute used as a filling ...". (1)  As I did not have more geese to "experiment" with, I purchased several roasting hens so I could try variations in the amounts of the ingredients to find the best taste.  This served a secondary purpose in that I was also making pynade and needed some roast chicken for that recipe.


I must admit that when I finished the first batch of "stuffing" and was ready to put it in the bird I hesitated.  Having grown up raising chickens and having plucked and "unstuffed" more than a few, I have to tell you that what I was about to put into the bird looked more like what usually comes out of the bird. An unsettling experience to say the least.  In period, it seems, they used cooked egg yolks to soak up the juices and expand the stuffing rather than the bread or breadcrumbs we are more accustomed to seeing today.  Adding those chopped egg yolks to a mush of chopped and boiled parsley and either grapes or onions/sausage did not improve the appearance one bit.  I seriously questioned, at that point, whether the intent was to have stuffing that was edible or whether the stuffing was merely used to convey the flavorings to the chicken and therefore done in such a style as to appear like the true innards of a chicken.  Since they tended to do this quite a bit with spectacle foods, I would not have been surprised to find the latter to be true.  However, once I managed to get the measurements correct, the stuffing turned out to be quite delicious if not exactly of the appearance, or taste, we might expect today.


Though I was working with one main recipe (see above), I was able to find several published redaction's of that recipe (see exhibits) which gave me some small amount of guidance.  However, the redaction's varied from one another in several instances to quite a large degree from which I concluded that the amounts of spices and such were more a matter of taste than a matter of necessity for the proper working of the recipe.  I, therefore, used the modern redactions as a general guideline only and proceeded to experiment on my own to find the taste which best suited me.  


I made my first few attempts using the variation calling for grapes.  In the first batch of stuffing I made a discovery of a missing instruction in both the original recipe and the redactions.  If you add the grapes with the skin still on, you get rather dry stuffing and none of the benefits of the flavor of the grapes. In fact it makes for some unpleasant surprises as you eat the stuffing.  The stuffing itself is not only dry but also of a rather sour flavor until you happen to bite into a grape, at which point you receive a totally different and highly uncomplimentary flavor.  Not an experience I would wish to repeat. However, as I discovered with my second batch of grape stuffing, if you peel the grapes before adding them to the stuffing you have a moist and most pleasantly flavored stuffing.  It is quite different from the modern stuffings to which we are accustomed and yet, if you ignore what you expect stuffing to taste like, it is a very pleasant flavor and texture.  In an attempt to maintain authenticity, I used organically grown purple grapes.  I do not know if different grapes would yield a flavor and texture which is equally pleasant though I intend to try this in the future.


I also found that the addition of water in parboiling the parsley in the grape version (as called for in two of the modern redactions) is not only unnecessary but also, in fact, detrimental to the final product.  The additional water makes the original dressing too thin and the final product mushy.  I can only conclude that other cooks tried the onion version and assuming that their discoveries would apply equally to the grape version, without actually trying it, made the redactions.


In the onion and sausage version (my third through 5th attempts) the water is indeed necessary, as the onion needs the additional moisture in the boiling to achieve the correct consistency. In my first onion version, I left the water out and the final dressing was too dry as the onions took the moisture which they missed in the boiling and absorbed it in the juices which should have gone to the dressing as a whole.  In my second onion attempt, I boiled the onions separate from the parboiling parsley.  Although this attempt was acceptable, my third onion attempt wherein I parboiled the onion with the parsley with the addition of 1/4 cup of water was by far the best in terms of taste and texture. I used home made sausage (documentation and recipe included in Chastlete entry). That is the onion and sausage stuffing that has been presented today.


In both versions, I found the amount of parsley and spices called for in Cindy Renfrow's redaction to be overpowering.  I cut the amount of both in half and found the taste to be much more pleasing and complimentary to the goose meat.


The amount of hard-boiled eggs called for in the various modern redactions varied from four yolks to a full two dozen.  The egg yolks fulfill the same function as breadcrumbs in our modern stuffing, that of absorbing the juices of the bird and expanding to give body to the dressing.  I tried varying amounts in the five chickens I roasted and found that 6 egg yolks for a 6 lb. bird gave the best results in absorption.  The end result was a dressing which had body and texture without being too dry.  Translating the amount for a six pound chicken to a 12 pound goose we come up with the need for an even dozen egg yolks.



My brother gave me a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for my birthday.  I browsed the whole store and pick up several books, one of which was "Seven Centuries of English Cooking" by Maxime de la Falaise.   Home and with a fresh book, I settled in for an enjoyable evening of discovery.  On page 58 she has a brief description and her version of a recipe for "medieval endoring" which she describes as a "process used to give a roast bird a gilded appearance".  That sounded like fun so I started researching with her reference to "Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books".  It soon became apparent that her reference was a very broad and general one.  


I found several recipes which  referred to endoring or doring but they were very vague in the reference. They made statements such as "endore hymwith yolkes of Eyroun as an kede" (2), and "endore with yolkys of Eyroun, & Safoun, & lat bake til it be y-now" (3), or ""endore hit with yolkes of egges and with saffron" (4).  Certainly not anything resembling the recipe put forth in Falaise's book.  However, in the forward of that same book was a brief comment to the point that endoring was an art and the cook who could glaze a food to make it look gilt in gold was highly prized. I was only able to find one other reference to endoring and that as an addendum to a recipe in "Pleyn Delit".  It also suggests using yolks of eggs though this book points out that the yolks should be whipped. It says further that care should be taken in adding the saffron as saffron can add an unpleasant flavor.


None of the above made it any more clear exactly what the secret of endoring was nor, if she knew the secret, why Maxime de la Falaise had added vinegar, sugar, and butter to the egg yolks and saffron called for in the extant recipe books.


Because endoring is basically painting something onto the bird, and because I knew a bit about paints in period, I first looked to paint mixtures used in period which contained egg and either butter, sugar, or vinegar.  The first I found was egg tempera.  This seems to be where the author was headed and would have been quite logical for period cooks to notice that the products in egg tempura were edible.  Those products being egg yolks, vinegar and a color medium.  With saffron as a color medium we now have a clue to the actual formulation of endoring.  Now that I felt I understood at least some of the reasoning behind Maxime de la Falaise's recipe, I tried to work my way up to understanding the rest.


My first attempt was egg yolk, saffron, and vinegar.  There were several problems with this not the least of which being that saffron did not mix well with the egg yolk.  Secondly the vinegar gave such an unpleasantly sour taste to the mixture that it was almost inedible.   I did however, try it on a roast chicken.  Yes, the vinegar made the taste so bad that I had to peel the skin away from the chicken and discard it before eating the meat beneath.  However it did give a rather nice if plain golden glaze to the roast chicken.


At this point I felt that I might understand the reasoning for the remainder of the recipe.  The butter  was to give a dissolving medium for the saffron in order to achieve a better color.  The sugar was to counteract somewhat the flavors of the vinegar and the saffron. The vinegar itself was there to make the egg yolk smooth and more paint worthy.


Lest you think I leapt directly into a modern redaction, ignoring the period recipe fragments available, I did try endoring with just egg yolk and saffron and also with just egg yolk.  Both were disasters.  The color was nowhere near gold and once baked was just a rather crumbly mess sitting on the roast chicken.


So I tried the recipe from "Seven Centuries of English Cooking".  What a difference, it truly did have the appearance of being gilt in gold.  Much to my surprise, I learned at this point that the sugar had one more purpose in the recipe.  The sugar crystals added the sparkle and shine one expects from gold. However, white sugar was rare to non-existent in this time period and gold is known more for it's sheen than for it's sparkle.  So I tried the recipe again with honey (at a slightly reduced amount) replacing the sugar.  Now it truly did have the appearance of having been painted with gold.


The last difference was in the egg yolks themselves.  I was able to obtain some goose eggs.  Goose egg yolks are of a much darker color than modern chicken eggs. By using the goose egg yolks the transformation from glaze to gold was complete.


When you combine the existent recipes with a knowledge of period tempera techniques, it is my belief that the recipe below is the closest possible to the correct one for the technique of endoring. In today's display, one of the geese has been endored while the other was left unglazed so that the difference may be seen.



In our area is a restaurant called "La Caille" which is in a reproduction of a Medieval French Keep. On the premises, they have several reproduction medieval brick ovens in which they bake most of the bread which they serve.  Being a daring sort, I called them and asked if I could use their ovens on their off time to experiment with baking some medieval dishes.  To my surprise, they agreed on the condition that their baker be on hand to supervise and that I give them copies of any recipes which worked well in the ovens and which their cooks desired.  


Since I knew that I could not transport the medieval oven to where ever the competition might be, my first project was to roast a chicken in the same manner as the goose and try to find a way to measure the heat and humidity in the oven at various times in the cooking process.  Then I would experiment at home to see if I could duplicate the environment of a medieval brick oven.  My first surprise was the discovery that they already had installed a thermometer and a device to measure humidity into the brick ovens.


The baker stoked up the fire in the oven and he and I sat sipping wine and chatting while the fire heated.  When the fire had burned long enough that the lower inner walls and floor of the oven were glowing red (and the thermometer was off the scale), he pulled out a metal paddle and scraped the fire out of the oven and into a bucket.  He put most of the fire out but retained a few glowing embers in a separate bucket.  He then told me to put the chicken on a sort of a tray with short legs and placed that in the oven.


By this time the thermometer read about 600 degrees.  Within the next 15 minutes the humidity in the oven rose to about 95% and the temperature dropped to around 350 degrees. This remained fairly consistent for the next 2 hours.  By the end of two hours the humidity dropped down at a rather rapid rate followed by a steady gradual temperature drop from 350 to approximately 150 over a period of 50 minutes.  At this time we opened the oven door and removed a perfectly cooked chicken.  I applied the endoring and we slipped it quickly back into the oven for another 15 minutes.  It came out with a golden sheen.


The chef, baker, sous chef and I enjoyed a lovely luncheon of roast chicken and wine.  I left behind the recipes included in this documentation and headed home to begin experimenting with duplicating the process.  


After much experimentation, I discovered that I could duplicate the medieval roasting oven by heating a normal oven to 500 degrees with two aluminum roasting pans inside it.  When the oven and roasting pans are pre-heated, I put the goose inside the first pan, put the second pan on as a lid and seal it with two paper clips.  I then put all back into the oven and lower the temperature to 350 for the next 3 hours (for a 12-lb. goose).  For the last hour of roasting, I lower the temperature by 40 degrees every 10 minutes.  I then take out the bird and pans, remove the top lid, apply the endoring and put the bird back in for 10 minutes.


Deviations from period practice:


Let's see, I ground the spices myself.  I grew the parsley.  I killed, plucked and dressed the goose. I grew the onions.  Oh yes, I don't keep chickens (zoning laws won't allow it) so, with the exception of the goose eggs used in the glaze, I had to buy the eggs.  


And the most obvious one, I roasted it in a 1920's antique oven.  Just never can find a good old medieval oven when you need one.




While the stuffing still looks somewhat unappetizing by modern standards, the taste is very good and quite complimentary to the goose.  I personally had never thought of using parsley in stuffing but I will use it again in small amounts.  The spices added a new depth of taste to the goose, which is delightful.  I will use this recipe again.


Final Redactions:


Variation #1 - stuffing with grapes:


1 dressed and cleaned goose (approx 12 lbs)

3/4 cup chopped parsley

4 T. bacon fat

1 C seedless grapes peeled

2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Ginger powder

1/4 tsp. Powdered white pepper

1 tsp. Cinnamon powder

1 tsp. Cloves

12 hard-boiled egg yolks chopped


Put parsley and bacon fat in a small pot and heat slowly until parsley is tender.  Remove from heat and add salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir until well blended. Add chopped egg yolks and grapes, mix thoroughly.  Stuff dressing into the body cavity of the goose.  Roast goose on it's back in 350 degree oven for 3 hours or one hour for each 4 lbs in weight of goose.  Remove from oven and serve it up hot.



Variation #2 - stuffing with onions and sausage


1 dressed and cleaned goose (approx 12 lbs)

3/4 cup Chopped Parsley

1/2 lb. Sausage

1 C Onions diced

1/2 C. Water

2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Ginger Powder

1/4 tsp. Powdered White Pepper

1 tsp. Cinnamon powder

1 tsp. Cloves

12 hard-boiled Egg Yolks chopped


Put parsley, onions, and water in a small pot and heat slowly until parsley and onions are tender. Remove from heat and add salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir until well blended. Add chopped egg yolks and sausage, mix thoroughly.  Stuff dressing into the body cavity of the goose.  Roast goose on it's back in 350 degree oven for 3 hours or one hour for each 4 lbs in weight of goose.  Remove from oven and serve it up hot.





(Makes enough to coat a 14 lb. roast bird)


4 T Butter

1/2 tsp.  Saffron powder

2 T. Honey

4 T. Vinegar

3 Egg Yolks


Simmer the butter with the saffron in a small saucepan until the butter has turned a bright yellow. Add the honey and vinegar and heat until syrupy stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and carefully stir in the egg yolks.  Return to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to apply with a paintbrush.


When your roast bird is cooked, remove it from the oven and paint the endoring mixture over it with even strokes.  Return the bird to the oven for 10 minutes to set the gilding. Serve warm.


(1) Hieatt, Constance B. "Curye on Inglysch", Oxford University Press. ISBN 0197224091 pg. 186

(2) Austin, Thomas. "Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books", Oxford University Press  London 1888. page 41

(3) Austin, Thomas. "Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books", Oxford University Press  London 1888. page 47

(4) Austin, Thomas. "Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books", Oxford University Press  London 1888. page 75





Austin, Thomas. "Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books", Oxford University Press, London 1888


Falaise, Maxime de la. "Seven Centuries of English Cooking", Grove Press, Washington 1973


Hieatt, Hosington, Butler. "Pleyn Delit", University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1976


Renfrow, Cindy. "Take a Thousand Eggs or More" Volume One, Cindy Renfrow USA. isbn 0962859818 1991



Copyright 2000 by Debbie Snyder, 4744 W. Crestmoor Ct, West Jordan, Ut  84088. <LadyPDC at aol.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org