Saturday, June 28, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly #2: Soups & sauces

2. Soups and Sauces June 15 - June 28
Soups, stews, sauces, gravies! Make a soup or a sauce from a historical recipe.

I decided to try something that I have no idea what it is supposed to look like, taste like, or even be.  It's called Chet Soup.  ...And I'm still not sure what that is.  However, here is the original late 15th Century Recipe:
For to mak soupes chet

To mak soupes chet tak almond mylk mad with
good brothe and sett it on the fyere to boile put ther
to clowes maces pynes raissins of corrans guinger
mynced and plente of sugur.
A Noble Boke off Cookry  (Holkham MSS 674)  

Isabella's translation:

To Make Chet Soup: Take almond milk made with a good broth & set it on the fire to boil. Put there in cloves, mace, pine nutes, raisins, minced ginger, and plenty of sugar.

Okay so...

First I made the almond milk. I've never actually made almond milk before. I normally just buy whatever they have at the store. However, since this is to be made with a "good broth" rather than water, I threw some pre cut, pre blanched almond slices into the blender with a small amount of chicken broth and got this:

...I know. It looks like French Vanilla Ice Cream. It didn't smell like Vanilla Ice Cream. It smelt like chicken broth. After a half hour of making a small dent to put in the chicken broth, mixing the broth with the almonds (it thickens fast!), and then pressing the mashed almonds against the strainer, I got a nice small bowl full of almond milk.

I then set the almond milk to boil. It got a very interesting glassy "skin" as it heated up. I kept stirring it to help prevent that.

I then added whole cloves, mace, pine nuts, raisins, ground ginger, and lots of sugar. I *think* I added maybe 8 whole cloves, about 1 teaspoon of mace, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, probably a good 1/2 cup of raisins, 1 teaspoon of ginger, and nearly 1/3 cup of sugar. I don't really measure anymore because, well, they didn't. I just sort of go by smell and taste.

After about five minutes of boiling, it was done. The soup gets pretty thick but it's still soupy. It's surprisingly good. If anyone has had peanut soup, the sweetness/savoriness is sort of at that level.  It's sweet, but not overbearing.  It's really creamy and actually pretty nice for a summer day despite it being a "hot" soup.   I really enjoyed it and will totally have it again.

The Challenge:
Soups & Sauces

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)A Noble Boke off Cookry (Holkham MSS 674)  

The Date/Year and Region:
England, 1460's

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation)
See above

Time to Complete:
About 1 hour

Total Cost:
I had blanched almonds on hand as well as raisins, ginger, sugar, and cloves. The Mace was $7 but I barely used more than a teaspoon. The pine nuts were $10 - again, only used maybe 1/3 of the package. The chicken broth was $2.35.

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?)  As I stated above, it's actually really good.  I had no idea what it was going to look like or taste like.  It wasn't nearly as sweet as I thought it would be given the ingredients.  It's a really nice nut based soup.   I'm going to probably make it for my family and see what they think. I might also try it with veggie broth in the future so I can have it during Lent. 

How Accurate Is It?: I made the almond milk myself. Yes, I may not have made the broth myself but given how long it took to make the almond milk, I'm totally calling this accurate. :-)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I really love trying out these old recipes. We just don't make food like this anymore.

  2. Wow! You are incredible to a) try a 15th century recipe and b) make almond milk yourself. Great job! It doesn't sound half bad and I'm the world's pickiest eater.

    1. Lol! Thank you! If you like nuts, raisins, and cream - this is really good.