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meatballs-msg – 5/17/14


Period dishes with meatballs.


NOTE: See also the files: chopped-meat-msg, lamb-mutton-msg, meat-stuffed-msg, meatloaf-msg, sausages-msg, endoring-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 11:13:47 -0500

From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Cooks adapting/Creating Recipes WAS: saffron (a really long time ago)



<< The problem with modern cooks taking a recipe and

then making their own variants is that we know a great deal less

about medieval cooking than a medieval cook did, hence do not know

just what variations would or would not have seemed appropriate to a

medieval cook. Varying a period recipe, especially doing it to fit

our tastes, is likely to mean changing it in ways that make it more

like a modern recipe, hence less medieval.



I agree with this, especially after doing a recipe for Pomme Dorre

(golden apples) The original recipe directs you to (see for yourself);



the following is my work on this recipe.


Pommes Dorre Recipe # 440

Take felettes of pork, and rogte hom half raw, and bray hom, and in the

brayinge caft therto a few zolkes of eyren, and a few clowes; and when

hit is brayed, do hit into a veffel, and put therto pouder of pepur ynogh, and

colour hit with faffron; and do therto fugre or honey clarified, and a few

raifynges of corance, and medel al togeder; and then fet a panne over the

fire with water, and let hit boyle,and make rounde pelettes of the greneffe

of an ey of the fame ftuff, and caft hom into the boylynge water, and fethe

hom, and then do hom on a fpit, and rofte hom; and in the rothynge, edore hom

zelow with zolkes of eyren, and flour, and faffron, medeled togeder, and

fome grene if thouw wyl with royft of herbes endorre hom, and ferve hit



Source, Ancient Cookery- a 15th Century manuscript , found in "Collection

of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks" first compiled by Duke Cariodoc of the

Bow and the Duchess Diana Alena, 6th Edition.



Pommes Dorre


Take fillets of pork, and roast them half raw, and grate them and in the

grating put a few egg yolks and a few cloves and when it is grated put it in

a vessel and add ground pepper and colour it with saffron, and add sugar or

clarified honey, and a few currants and mix this together; then bring a pot

of water to boil, and make balls the size of an eye, and put them in the

boiling water and bring to a boil, then put them (the meat balls) on a spit

and roast them, and while they are roasting, coat them with a yellow mixture

of egg yolks , flour and saffron, well mixed, and some green if you want,

made of herbs, coat them (and allow the coating to roast) and serve them




A Discussion

I have thought about the multiple cooking steps in this and many other

medieval recipes. At first glance these steps may seem to serve a culinary

purpose, such as par-roasting to make the chopping easier, or additional

cooking to ensure that the meat is well done, or even to reduce the use of

fuel by using boiling water which was a standby at all times in the medieval

"kitchen" I believe however that the medieval cookbooks  we are reading from

are those intended for the highest of tables and the cooks had an alterior

motive to the multiple cooking steps.I have cooked this recipe using both a

roasted meat and a raw ground meat as the starting point and did not find a

significant difference in taste. I will admit that ground pork resulted in a

somewhat "springier" consistency than the pre-roasted then ground pork. What

pleased me after working with the recipe and following it's original

instructions was that it turned out wonderful, despite doing what most

modern cooks would see as unfit to creat a meatball dish.


Let’s consider the Galenic idea of  balancing humors. A major consideration

of the medieval cook was to prepare food  for the health of those who would

consume it. If we analyze the above period recipe,it should be noted that

pork is considered to be cold/moist. As the meatballs are boiled, this

increases the coldness/moistness, therefore by par-roasting the meat first

you are balancing this process. If the par-roasting isn’t done, the end

product could be too cool/moist and result in a disruption of the bodily

humours of the person feasting on it. This theory needs to be expanded by

analyzing other recipes as to the degrees of  moist/dry, hot/cold in order to

determine how effective it is. For now, it’s an interesting idea that fits

this situation.


The endoring can be done over a grill or barb-b-que or using the oven at a

hot temperature (450 degrees). The grill is much more efficient as you do not

have to keep opening the door to the oven, and is also more true to the

original recipe. However, in the winter, I admit, standing over a grill, is

not my idea of a great time but I did do it for this vigil, and I felt the

results were justified. You may choose to use the oven and by all means

don’t feel guilty.



A Redacted Recipe- Pommes Dorre


1 lb boneless  pork (butt ends seem to have enough fat, loin is too

   lean) or for convienence, ground pork

2 egg  yolks

2 cloves

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground white pepper

3-5 strands of saffron, crushed

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp currants (optional)


Endoring paste

5 egg yolks

5 strands of saffron (gold) or 1/4 cup pureed parsley (green)

1/8 cup unbleached all purpose flour


If using ground pork, eliminate the roasting and grinding.

Roast the pork steak for 10-20 minutes at 350 degrees so that it is half

cooked. Cut into chunks. In a food processor, finely grind the meat. Add

the egg yolks, spices, and if using, the currants. Blend well.

Bring a pot of water to boil and form 3 inch balls of the meat mixture.

Carefully drop the balls into the boiling water, allow to come to a boil

again and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and thread onto either a  metal or

bamboo skewer.


Brush the egg paste onto the meatballs, allowing to cook between coats.

Roast the meatballs well to ensure that the egg paste is cooked. Serve hot or

cold. Makes 25-35 meatballs.



Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 11:06:07 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] my menu for upcoming day event

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Mari de Paxford (aka Sue Laing) wrote:

> Thought I'd share what I'm making for the upcoming St Florian de la Riviere

> Baroness's Birthday Par D'Armes, being held on the 28th of this month (St

> Florians is a Barony located in Brisbane, Queensland Australia and is part

> of the Kingdom of Lochac) and ask a question or two on presentation  

> (see bottom of post)




> The event is in a park with no facilities so I've decided to make  

> everything ahead of time and serve it cold

> Mushroom tartlets - bite sized (taken from Le Menagier de Paris)

> Beef & Currant Meatballs (actually it's the "Pomes Dorryle" from "To the

> Kings Taste" - Golden apples recipe but I'm ommitting the endorising layer

> and exchanging minced beef for the listed minced pork, as the Baroness  

> is allergic to pork in all forms)




There is a recipe for pommes out of Two Fifteenth Century Cookbooks

that gives beef as an alternate meat; it doesn't have currents,




Two Fifteenth Century p. 34


Take Beef, Porke, or Vele, on of hem, & raw, alle to-choppe it atte

[th]e dressoure, [th]an grynd hem in a mortar as smal as [th]ou may,

[th]an caste [th]er-to Raw yolkys of Eyroun, wyn, an a lytil whyte

sugre: caste also [th]er-to pouder Pepyr, & Macys, Clowes, Quybibys,

pouder Canelle, Synamoun, & Salt, & a lytil Safroun; [th]en take &

make smale Pelettys round y-now, & loke [th]at [th]ou haue a fayre

potte of Freysshe bro[th]e of bef or of Capoun, & euer [th]row hem

[th]er-on & lete hem sethe tyl [th]at [th]ey ben y-now; [th]en take &

draw vppe a [th]ryfty mylke of Almaundys, with cold freysshe bro[th]e

of Bef, Vele, Moton, o[th]er Capoun, & a-lye it with floure of Rys &

with Spycerye; & atte [th]e dressoure ley [th]es pelettys .v. or .vj.

in a dysshe, & [th]en pore [th]in sewe aneward, & serue in, or ellys

make a gode [th]ryfty Syryppe & ley [th]in pelettys atte [th]e

dressoure [th]er-on, & [th]at is gode seruyse. (thorn replaced by[th])


and for those who don't like 15th c. English:


Take Beef, Pork, or Veal, one of them, & raw, chop it all at the

dresser, then grind them in a mortar as small as thou may, then cast

therto raw yolks of eggs, wine, and a little white sugar: cast also

therto powder Pepper, & Mace, Cloves, Cubebs, powder cinnamon, &

Salt, & a little Saffron; then take & make small Pellets round

enough, & look that thou have a fair pot of Fresh broth of beef or of

Capon, & ever throw them theron & let them seeth till that they be

enough; then take & draw up a thrifty milk of Almonds, with cold

fresh broth of Beef, Veal, Mutton, or Capon, & mix/thicken it with

flour of Rice & with Spicery; & at the dresser (i.e., when dishing it

up for serving) lay these pellets 5 or 6 in a dish, & then pour thine

sauce onward, & serve in, or else make a good thrifty Syrup & lay

thine pellets at the dresser theron, & that is good service.


(Does anyone but me find that reading this stuff has unfortunate

effects on one's spelling? After a bit I don't even see my

misspellings; and it makes it hard to correct to modern spelling and

be sure I've got them all.)


Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook



Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 11:23:58 +1000

From: Robyn.Hodgkin at affa.gov.au

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Recipe for the meatloaf salamander

To: bjofnz at yahoo.co.nz, SCA-cooks at ansteorra.org



At a recent feast in Politarchopolis, we had an A&S competition for  

mythical beasts.  Here are photos of my contribution, a salamander.






A couple of people asked about the recipe for the salamander.


I used Le Viandier de Taillevent recipe number 195.


"Take raw meat chopped as fine as possible, Digne raisins and crumbled  

harvest cheese, all mixed together with Fine poweder.  Have some mutton  

rennet stomachs, scald and wash them very well (not in water so hot  

that they shrivel), fill them with the chopped meat and stitch them  

with a small wooden skewer."



I have made hedgehogs as meatballs with this recipe (minus mutton  

rennet stomachs) and the "digne raisins" all swelled up and popped out  

giving a great hedgehog appearance, which was very cool.


I think I used a feta as the cheese (trying to remember, darn I really  

should write these things down at the time) or possibly a ricotta.


For "fine powder" I used recipe 222 for Spice powder:


"Grind ginger (4 parts), Cassia (3 1/2 parts) nutmeg (2 parts) pepper  

(1 1/2 parts), long pepper, cloves, grains of paradise and galingale (1  

part each)  (A recipe quoted by Pichon et al p26)"


My difference was that I didn't have any grains of paradise or long  






Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 16:39:22 -0400

From: "Barbara Benson" <voxeightat gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Meat mixtures

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooksat lists.ansteorra.org>


> Sharon> I'm looking for meat mixtures such as you might put in  

> pasties, pie, meatlball, pate, or meatloaf type food.


Wow, that is a big subject. Here is my translation for both Lamb

Meatballs and Veal Meatballs from Rumpoldt's Ein New Kochbuch:


From the Chapter on Lamb

17.Lamb meatball you will make/ as earlier instructed (chapter?

Recipie?) from Vealmeat you make. One can also steam them brown on a

Rack/ with a sauce/ or in a pepper sauce/ they are in all manners



From the Chapter on Veal

43.Meatball made from Veal Meat/ Take Vealmeat/ and cut it small/ and

hack it altogether with Beef Fat/ as earlier stated/ and when the

flesh has been small hacked/ so take more therto/ and a grated Loaf/

Pepper and Saffron/ put also three or four Eggs therunder/ and mix it

altogether/ and oversalt it not/ And when you have hacked it well

small./ so cut Almonds therein/ the small chopped/ also clean small

Raisins/ and a little Sugar/ that will make it a little sweet/ mix it

all together/ and knead it with clean Hands/ and when you have well

kneaded/ so make meatballs thereof/ round and long/ throw them in

boiling water/ and let it there simmer/ put them out of it and onto a

clean board/ And take chopped Almonds/ also small raisins/ wine/ a

little vinegar and sugar/ brown a little Flour therein/ let it

altogether simmer/ take Pepper and Saffron thereto/ and let it also

seethe there/ so you will have a good Almond sauce/ And when you have

let them simmer/ so put the meatballs therein and set them on the hot

Ashes/ so it will stay warm/ until you will serve it/ If you want to

have another such meatball/ as you have made/ so lay it on a Rack/ and

brown it off/ and make thereto a good Pepper with some Chicken Fat/

that has been melted before/ as one (who) makes Pepper should/ be it

sweet or sour/ it is in both manners good. Make also such meatballs/

that you would have made/ the browned kind. You make also boiled with

Juniper berries/ or Parsley Roots/ and do not make it sour/ so they

are with Beef Broth/ and make it with steam/ so it will be good and

well tasting.


My redaction using Lamb can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/fjj2w


I don't know if this one is covered already in your listing - but here

is a meat and cheese pie from Platina:


Platina, On right Pleasure and Good Health Book VIII

36. Meat Pie

Boil the meat of veal, or kid, or capon. When it is boiled and the

sinews taken out, cut up finely and pound in a mortar. Add to it a

little fresh cheese, an equal amount of ground aged cheese, a little

cut-up parsley and marjoram, fifteen well-beaten eggs, sowbelly, or

calf's udder, cut up and pounded, a bit of pepper, a little more

cinnamon, less ginger, and enough saffron to create color. Take care

that it be cooked in the same way in which we described white pie.


And another, but much earlier German meat pie thingie:

Ein Buch von Guter Spice

5. Heidenische kuchen (Heathen cakes)

These are called heathen cakes. One should take a dough and should

spread it thin and take a boiled meat and chopped fatty bacon and

apples and pepper and eggs therein and bake that and give out and do

not damage.


Looking at the above one again, it doesn't actually tell you to chop

the boiled meat - but when I prepared it that is the way I did it. I

did it in a pasty form and they were tasty.


Glad Tidings,

Serena da Riva



Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2006 03:16:43 -0500

From: Rob Downie <rdownieat mts.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Did I imagine it? (lost chicken recipe)

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooksat lists.ansteorra.org>


Terri Morgan wrote:


> Once, a long while ago there was a thread about making 'meatballs' from

> chicken. I vaguely remember that someone called them "medieval chicken

> McNuggets" because the suggested sauce was a sweet mustard. The recipe was

> something like, "cook your chicken and then mince fine, adding breadcrumbs,

> eggs, spices, then fry in a pan, then place on skewers and roast  

> over a fire before serving".

> Or some such. Did I dream it? Does this sound the least bit familiar? I have

> wandered all over my saved messages, the Florilegium, the Internet

> recipe-books... I'm stumped. And at 3:50 in the morning, I'm  

> starting to think I lost my mind.

> Hrothny


No you didn't imagine it:


   Coated hens  Younger Danish manuscript (13th century)


One shall take hens and scald them and cut them apart and cut all the

meat from the bones, and tear it into small pieces, and boil the bones.

Then the bones are taken from the broth and the meat is wrapped around

them, and sprinkled with ground cinnamon, and put this in a batter/dough

made of wheat flour and beaten eggs, and bake it in butter or lard. That

is called coated hens.


Translation and commentary by Nanna





Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2006 09:50:49 -0400

From: Sandra Kisner <sjk3at cornell.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Did I imagine it? (lost chicken recipe)

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooksat lists.ansteorra.org>


>> Once, a long while ago there was a thread about making 'meatballs' from

>> chicken. I vaguely remember that someone called them "medieval chicken

>> McNuggets" because the suggested sauce was a sweet mustard. The recipe was

>> something like, "cook your chicken and then mince fine, adding breadcrumbs,

>> eggs, spices, then fry in a pan, then place on skewers and roast  

>> over a fire before serving".


>> Hrothny

> No you didn't imagine it:

> Coated hens  Younger Danish manuscript (13th century)

> <snip>

> Faerisa


Another one that was posted some years ago in response to a post by  



> Okay!  This isn't quite it, but it looks like a tasty "chicken  

> knish" anyway.

> Sabrina Welserin #97 If you would make chicken buns

> Then take the meat from hens and let it cook beforehand, after that chop

> it small and put grated a Semmel thereon and eggs thereon, until you think

> that it is a good thick dough. Afterwards make fine round little balls and

> let them fry very slowly and roast them

> Selene Colfox





Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2013 12:00:31 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Turkish Meatballs (not Scotch eggs)


Here's one of the recipes i translated from among those added by Shirvani to his translation of al-Baghdadi's cookbook in the mid-15th c.


[131r] Meatballs

Grind some meat as for meatballs, continue to beat in a mortar. Put in plenty of pepper, onions and a little sifted starch and knead. Insert some cooked egg peeled of their shells, into the center of the meat patties, then form all into meatballs. The meatballs are released into a large pot [131v] of thoroughly boiling water, turning occasionally to cook. [my translation]


Similar meatballs were made in late 16th c. Persia. There isn't a detailed recipe for them, but they are mentioned in a recipe for the very complex dish called qobuli-ye murassa' (jeweled qobuli) in "Maddat al-hayat, resala dar 'elm-e tabbaki" (The substance of life, a treatise on the art of cooking) by Master Nurollah, chef to Shah 'Abbas I, written in 1594/95:

"...Fill large meat balls each with an egg cooked in meat stock and cook them separately. Then cut in half and arrange on the dish in such a way that they show the inside of the eggs." [excerpted from the long recipe - my translation]


The Ottoman recipe does not say to cut the meatballs in half to show off the eggs, but it's possible they did - while some of the recipes are very very detailed and specific, others are very sketchy in terms of details,.


In modern times, a spicy meat mixture is formed into balls with hard cooked eggs inside, then cut in half just before serving. They are called Nargisi Kofta, that is, daffodil meatballs.


So the concept has a long history. Unlike Scotch eggs, they do not appear to have been served as snacks, but as part of a larger meal.


Urtatim (that's oor-tah-TEEM)


<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