Potage Dyvers (Venison or Beef in Wine and Spices)
Noblys of the venison. Take the Nobles of Venyoun, and cutte him small whyle they been raw; than take Freysshe brothe, Watere, and Wyne, of eche a quantyte, an powder of Pepir an Canel, and leth them boyle to -gederys tyl it be almost y-now (done); an thene caste powder Gynger, an a lytil venegre an Salt, an sesyn it vp (up), and then serue it forth in the maner of a gode potage. (Renfrow, pp. 465)
This is almost exactly as it is in the book Take a !000 Eggs, except I had to make a couple of spelling adjustments. It’s not your eyes playing tricks.
4lb Venison or beef
1 bottle red wine
1 tsp each salt, pepper, ginger and Chinese cinnamon.
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
This is pretty straight forward for a medieval recipe. I made a couple of changes because…I had to. For the first change I had to use beef instead of venison. I no longer have a venison supplier. I am very sad!
So I took half a brisket I had in the freezer. (I was running out of room) and trimmed off most of the huge chunks of fat cutting the meat into slightly larger than bite sized pieces. The meat, being a brisket, is very tough but very tasty. A long slow cook will not only make the meat very tender but also shrink the meat just a little.
I didn’t use quite a full bottle of wine, but you can. You can also go as low as 2 cups. The spices are to my taste and the balsamic vinegar is a very good sweet balsamic. Go for the best you can in spices and vinegar. The better the ingredients the better the taste!
Since I was doing a long slow cook, I decided to add all the ingredients instead of doing the ginger and vinegar at the end while using a slow cooker instead of doing a straight up boil for thirty minutes.
The meat cooked in the wine/spices/vinegar for 4 hours. The meat came out very tasty with just the right amount of spice to wine infusion. So yes, I took a few liberties however I think that in a period situation this dish could have been set over a low fire to cook for many hours if there was farm work to be done.
If this meal was for the lord and a feast, then yes, the meat would need to be cooked very quickly and part of the spices, in lower concentration because ginger is STRONG. I also prefer the taste of wine to vinegar though the slight vinegar bite was night from the long slow cooking. So in conclusion, have fun and experiment!