Bartolomeo Scappi was the personal cook to Pope Pius V in the 1570's. This recipe is from his notebooks and can be found in "Renaissance Recipes" by Gillian Riley.
- 1 free-range chicken or capon
- 4 oz. pancetta
- 4 oz. prunes
- 4 oz. dried fruit
- 1 inch cinnamon stick, ground
- half a nutmeg, ground
- 1/2 inch dried ginger, ground
- fresh ginger, chopped fine
- garlic to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron soaked in hot water
- 2 glasses good dry white wine
- 1 glass verjuice
- orange peel
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped herbs, parsley, marjoram, rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon of above spice mixture
- 1 egg
- lemon juice to taste
- lemon peel
- 1/2 cup grated cheese, parmesan or mild cheddar
- salt and pepper and garlic if you like
Substitutions: Pancetta is fried, salted pork lard. I used bacon strips. I buy most of my spices pre-ground. :D I buy my saffron at Pennsic at the Pepperer's Guild shop. It's *real* saffron and I buy it by the thread. It's hand-picked from the flower stamen and it's expensive. It would be overpowered in a dish with this many other ingredients in it so I used a pinch of tumeric instead. It's cheaper. Verjuice is sour grape juice. While I have had the stuff on hand before, I didn't this time, so I used the juice of the oranges I was getting the rind from. My breadcrumbs were leftover dinner rolls. I wanted to use them up before they went stale. I didn't have any almonds on hand, so I simply used walnuts. I didn't have any marjoram, so I used oregano. They're from the same family. The only grated cheese I had was a Romano-Parmesan mixture. Good enough.
My wife and I prefer to "eat clean" as much as possible. Having a large chest freezer is a big help towards this. We have half a dozen frozen free-range chickens in it. I brought one out the previous afternoon and let it thaw inside the slow-cooker where the cats couldn't get at it. :)
I mixed a 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg together and set it aside. Into a small bowl, I chopped up a half cup of fresh parsley and added a little bit of chopped fresh oregano and rosemary fresh off the twig. In a large bowl I shredded three dinner rolls and then added the herbs and a half teaspoon of the spice mixture. I juiced half a lemon, grated most of its peel and added them to the mixture along with one fresh egg. We get our eggs from the farmer down the road. I added half a cup of shredded romano/parmesan cheese and a pinch of fresh garlic. I skipped the salt and pepper. Set the bowl aside.
The chicken was washed, patted dry and the gizzards fed to the cats. :) I had made just enough stuffing to stuff the bird completely. I placed it in the slow roaster and laid bacon strips across its back, covering it. I started the roaster and set it for six hours. In a large bowl, I poured two cups of wine and the juice from two oranges, fresh squeezed. I grated the peel of half an orange into the mixture. Since I hadn't washed off the grater, some lemon peel was added as well. This was intentional. I dumped in the remains of the spice mixture, a large pinch of fresh garlic, a large pinch of fresh ginger, and a small pinch of tumeric. I added 8 oz. of dried prunes, 8 oz. of dried fruit and let the fruit soak in the mixture for fifteen minutes before pouring everything into the slow-roaster over the chicken.
That evening, I took it the shire's potluck right in the slow-roaster. I used the 'simmer' setting to keep the dish warm. I took home nothing but the roaster itself, the shire ate everything but the bones! :) This is possibly one of the most popular dishes I've ever served.