Episode 9: Shakespeare’s Birthday Meal (1596-1597)

800px-ShakespeareTo celebrate Shakespeare’s 452nd birthday and the 400th anniversary since his death, I cook up two dishes from his era and talk about the food eaten during the Elizabethan/Jacobean periods. The recipes from this episode come from The Good Housewife’s Jewel by Thomas Dawson, originally published in 1596.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace from my 2006 trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.

The recipes I made are pease pottage and chicken in a caudle.  The foundation of both recipes came from Thomas Dawson’s The Good Housewife’s Jewel, but I did make alterations.  The recipes in the book were very vague so I was mostly winging measurements.  Below are the closest approximations that I was able to manage.  You may need to adjust the recipe to suit your needs.

 The Good Housewife's Jewel

Pease pottage
Pease Pottage

Pease Pottage

1/2 cup dried split yellow peas
1 1/2 cup water
2 carrots (sliced)
1/4 head of cabbage (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 leek (white parts only, diced)
2 tablespoons tart kombucha
pinch of ginger
pinch of cinnamon
pepper to taste
1/2 cup ham (diced)

Put the peas and water in a slowcooker on high/medium high.  Let cook for 5 hours.  Add the other ingredients.  Cook for an additional hour or two.  Serve with malt vinegar.

Chicken in a caudle 1
Chicken in a Caudle.  I had some trouble the the caudle.

Chicken in a Caudle
2 tablespoons dried barberries
2 tablespoons dried currants
4 prunes quartered
4 ounces wine (or a little more since my pie was dry)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
1/2 egg yolk
1/2 cup cooked chicken
Red wine vinegar

1/2 cup rye flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
enough water to bring everything together (probably around 4 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Simmer the barberries, currants, prunes, wine, and spices in a small sauce pan until the fruits are softened and some of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in the egg yolk so it doesn’t curdle. Add chicken and let sit.

While the fruits are cooking, prepare the crust. Combine the flour and butter. Slowly add the water one teaspoon at a time until the crust holds together without crumbling. Separate the dough into two balls – one consisting of 2/3 of the mixture and the other 1/3 of the mixture. Roll out the larger ball until it is about 7″ in diameter. This will be the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough until it is about 3″ in diameter. This is the top crust.

Take a drinking glass or tumbler that is about 3″ in diameter and cover the outside of the class with plastic wrap. Place the glass, bottom down, in the center of the bottom crust. Carefully shape the dough around the bottom of the glass working the dough about 2 inches up the sides of the glass.

Fill the bottom crust with the filling and place the top crust on the pie. Crimp the edges so a seal is formed between the top and bottom crust. Poke a 1/2″ hole in the center of the top pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Drizzle red wine vinegar into the hole until it is full. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

This is best served cold.

Chicken in a caudle 2
Shakespeare’s Birthplace from my 2006 trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.  This is the back entrance.  If I’m remembering correctly, this is the entrance to the gift shop.
Shakespeare’s birthplace from my 2006 trip to Stratford-upon-Avon
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife’s family home) from my 2006 trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. This is the front entrance.
This is the back entrance to Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s