Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book - 15 Counsis

Recipes from John Crophill's Commonplace Book (Harley MS 1735)

This manuscript is dated before 1485.

The 68 recipes in John Crophill's Commonplace Book are on pages 16v through 28v.

Images of the original manuscript are freely available on the British Library website.

I have done my best to provide an accurate, but readable transcription. Common abbreviations have been expanded, the letters thorn and yogh have been replaced with their modern equivalents, and some minor punctuation has been added.

Copyright © 2015 by Daniel Myers,


[15.] Counsis
Tak capouns hennys & rost hem tyl thei been browne hew hem on gobets do hem in a brothz of fresch beef sethz hem softly or sethz hem ferst & rost hem after on a gredel tak the brothz & lye it up with bred force it with peper colour it with saffron sethz eyre hard kepe the yelkys hole hew the whyte smal & do ther to and do ther to the  brothz & the capouns hew hem ther to boille it & set it doun seson it with yelkys swenged florysch it with hard yelkys & hole.


While medieval recipes for stewed chicken are fairly common, the name of this one and the particular combination of ingredients is not. As with the previous recipe, there are corresponding versions in Liber and Noble. However, the third match for this one comes from Forme of Cury instead.
Capons in Covisye. Take capons and sethe hom wele, And hew hom smalle ilkadele. Take peper and brede, and grynde hit smalle, And temper hit up with capon alle. Take whyȝte of eyren harde soþun þo, And hake hom smalle and do þerto, And boyle þe capon and coloure hit þenne With safrone, and do as I kenne. Þo ȝolkes of eggus, I telle þe, Alle hole þou put in disshe so fre.  [Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]
capon In Couns. To mak capons in couns tak a capon and sethe it and hew it then grind pepper and bred and temper it with the capon then tak the whit of egg herd sodene and hew them small and boile the capons and colour it with saffron and lay yolks of eggs in the disshe hole and serue it.  [A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)]
VI - Caponys In Coneys. Schal be sodyn. Nym the lyre and brek it smal In a morter and peper and wyte bred therwyth and temper it wyth ale and ley it wyth the capoun. Nym hard sodyn eyryn and hewe the wyte smal and kaste thereto and nym the zolkys al hole and do hem in a dysch and boyle the capoun and colowre it wyth safroun and salt it and messe it forthe.  [Forme of Cury (England, 1390)]

Again, the other versions seem to be more closely related to each other than to the Crophill version, with one notable difference being that the Crophill recipe calls for the capon to be roasted where all the other recipes have it boiled.

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