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Bruet of Sarcynesse

By Lady Faoiltighearna inghean mhic Ghuaire
Copyright © 1999 Margo Farnsworth

For To Make a Bruet of Sarcynesse:

Take the flesh of the fresh beef and cut it all in pieces and bread and fry it in fresh grease take it up and dry it and do it in a vessel with wine and sugar and powder of cloves, boil it together till the flesh have drunk the liquor and take the almond milk and quibibs maces and cloves and boyl them together, take the flesh and do thereto and mix it forth. (Ancient Cookery, 1381)

I found this recipe in Seven Centuries of English Cooking by Maxime de la Falaise. The heading on it was "Meat Loaf with Almonds". Her instructions are to take all of the ingredients, mix them together and bake it as a meat loaf. When I read the actual recipe, it didn't sound like it should be a loaf at all, but maybe beef in an almond sauce. I then picked up my Curye on Inglysch from the Early English Text Society and looked up their definition of bruet and found it even contains a reference to this very recipe. Here are excerpts from their definition:

bruet n. broth, or meat or other food cooked in broth. BRUET OF SARCYNESSE II 55, BRUET SARASEYNS Menu 4, 'Saracen broth': a beef stew bearing no visible relationship to any other dish of similar name in English, French, or Italian collections, although it may be descended from something similar to the LSS's Carn a la Sarreynesca (p.188) and makes use of a typical Arabic procedure: cf. C. Anne Wilson in PPC 7 (1981), p. 15.
This is my interpretation of the recipe:
2.5 lbs. beef (I used bottom round) chopped small by hand
4 slices bread torn into small pieces
4 tbsp. butter
1 (750 ml) bottle burgundy wine
4 tbsp. sugar
.5 tsp. ground cloves
2 c. almond milk (1 c. almonds + 1 c. water ground together)
1 tsp. black pepper (quibibs if you have them, I did not)
.5 tsp. mace
.25 tsp. ground cloves

Fry the beef and bread in a large pot. Add the sugar and tsp. cloves and the bottle of wine. Bring to a boil and try to mash the bread with a fork. Continue boiling for 1 hour, stirring occasionally as it tends to stick to the bottom, until the beef becomes tender. Meanwhile, boil the almond milk with the remaining spices until it becomes thick. When the beef becomes tender, add the almond milk mixture and serve.


Seven Centuries of English Cooking by Maxime de la Falaise. Grove Press, Inc., 1973. Page 42. Curye on Inglysch from the Early English Text Society. Oxford University Press, 1985. Pages 132-133