Beef y-Stywyd

Take fair beef of the ribs of the fore-quarters, and smite in fair pieces, and wash the beef into a fair pot; then take the water that the beef was seethed in, and strain it through a strainer, and seethe the same water and beef in a pot, and let them boil together; then take cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs, and onions minced, parsley, and sage, and cast thereto, and let them boil together, and then take a loaf of bread, and step it with broth and vinegar, and then draw it through a strainer, and let it be still; and when it is near enough, cast the liquor thereto, but not too much, and let boil once, and cast saffron thereto a quantity; then take salt and vinegar, and cast thereto, and look that it be poignant enough,& serve forth.

serves 4

700 g stew beef

350 g onions

6 ½ dl or more water

½ dl bread crumbs

½ dl parsley chopped

1 tablespoon dried sage (or 5-10 fresh sage leaves)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon grains of paradise

5 whole cubeb peppers

pinch of mace

pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon vinegar

salt

Cut the beef in fair cubes. Chop onions and chop fresh herbs. Bring water to boil and add beef cubes into boiling water. Add spices and onions. Reduce the heat and let it simmer together as long  it takes meat to cook tender (about 1-2 hours). This is slow food :) . Check time to time that the stew doesn’t dry. Add more water if needed. Then take breadcrumbs, little bit liquid from stew and vinegar and mix them together as fine as possible. Add the mixture to the stew and let it boil briefly. Then add herbs and boil it briefly again. Taste and add more vinegar and salt if needed. It should taste little bit sour.

Comments: Grains of paradise (or Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains) and Cubebs (tailed pepper, Java pepper) are not very easily found in Finland. I have got my grains of paradise from friend from Germany and cubebs I have found in Ruohonjuuri store at Turku. But last time I went there they told me that they have stopped selling long pepper and cubebs because lack of demand. In medieval times those peppers where quite commonly used in Europe. But you can leave them away if you don’t have any and use black pepper as substitute.

Andrew Dalby (in book Dangerous tastes, the story of spices) tells that cubeb pepper is relative of the black pepper tree. And about grains of paradise he says that grains of paradise are relative to cardamom.

(Take a thousand eggs or more, I Volume, Harleian MS. 279, c. 1420)

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