Ever wonder what people ate in medieval times? You can find a few answers at MedievalCookery.com, a website that features authentic ideas modernized for today's kitchens.
This recipe for Mushroom Pie seems almost too easy, yet it's a rewarding meatless entree that's perfect with a side salad. One note: When I tested the recipe, I didn't drain the mushrooms as much as I should have. It didn't affect the flavor or texture, but it left juices at the bottom of the pie plate.
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Swiss cheese, divided use
2 teaspoons Powder Fine (recipe follows)
1 (9-inch) pie crust
Save some cheese to sprinkle over the top.
Sauté mushrooms in small amount of oil to cook the mushrooms and release their water. Drain and cool. Press the juices from the mushrooms.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups of cheese and Powder Fine, and place into the pie crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes until done.
Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Source [Le Ménagier de Paris, J. Hinson (trans.)]: Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil, cheese and spice powder.
Item, put them between two dishes on the coals and then add a little salt, cheese and spice powder. They be found at the end of May and June.
Makes 1 pie.
"Many medieval recipes call for spice mixtures without detailing the exact spices," MedievalCookery.com says. "While it is tempting to assume that each particular spice mixture had a consistent recipe, there is evidence of substantial variation for different times, regions, budgets, and cooks. The recipe below is for one of the more commonly called-for spice mixtures. I strongly encourage altering it to suite your own tastes."
3 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon grains of paradise (see note)
Source [Le Ménagier de Paris, J. Hinson (trans.)]: FINE POWDER of spices. Take an ounce and a drachma of white ginger, a quarter-ounce of hand-picked cinnamon, half a quarter-ounce each of grains and cloves, and a quarter-ounce of rock sugar, and grind to powder.
Note: According to a jar from Silver Cloud Estates, "Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melagueta), also known as Guinea Pepper, is an aromatic seed primarily used in the cooking styles of West and North Africa. It has a flavor similar to black pepper and was once used as a substitute for pepper in Europe." It has a fruity taste with a light touch of heat and can be ordered online
Adapted from MedievalCookery.com.