Alows de Beef or de Motoun. From the Harleian Manuscript No 279, aptly named in published editions as, “Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books” come these wonderful Lamb and Beef Steaks from the early 1430’s. If you have ever been worried by the taste of Medieval foods and thought it all inedible, then this recipe might just change your mind. In actual fact these steaks could even fit in with modern ‘fusion foods’ that are trendy today – blending the wonderful lamb and beef taste with ginger, cinnamon, and saffron spices.
Harleian Manuscript No 279: “Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books” 1430
Alows de Beef or de Motoun: Take fayre Bef of þe quyschons, & motoun of þe bottes, & kytte in þe maner of Stekys; þan take raw Percely, & Oynonys smal y-scredde, & ȝolkys of Eyroun soþe hard, & Marow or swette, & hew alle þes to-geder smal; þan caste þer-on poudere of Gyngere & Saffroun, & tolle hem to-gederys with þin hond, & lay hem on þe Stekys al a-brode, & caste Salt þer-to; þen rolle to-gederys, & putte hem on a round spete, & roste hem til þey ben y-now; þan lay hem in a dysshe, & pore þer-on Vynegre & a lityl verious, & pouder Pepir þer-on y-now, & Gyngere, & Canelle, & a fewe ȝolkys of hard Eyroun y-kremyd þer-on; & serue forth.
Translated: Lamb Steaks: Take fair beef cushions (meat from the buttocks), and a leg of lamb, and cut it into the manner of steaks. Take fresh parsley and small chopped onions and the yolk of a hard boiled egg with suet, bring them all together with ground ginger and saffron and rub into the meat with some salt. Then roll the meat together and push them onto a spit and roast them until done. Place in a dish and pour over a little wine vinegar, verjuice and a little powder of pepper, ginger and cinnamon with some extra boiled egg yolks and serve it forth.
Alows de Mouton (Lamb Steak) Recipe
Talk to your butcher: Ask your butcher for thin lamb steaks (from the leg) and thin beef steaks (from the rump) which are roughly cut to the same size and shape.
Serves 4: one Beef and one Lamb steak each
- 8 Lamb Steaks (leg) thin cut
- 8 Beef Steaks (rump) thin cut
- Large handful of chopped, fresh parsley
- 1 large onion, diced very small (or even minced)
- 4 hard boiled egg yolks (boil the eggs, remove the shell and the whites)
- 4 further hard boiled egg yolks (to garnish)
- 30g of beef suet (softened beef fat) ask your butcher (or get the shredded kind)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- 2g fresh ginger chopped very fine or grated
- 2g of ground ginger
- 2g of ground cinnamon
- small pinch of saffron stems, soaked in a tablespoon of warm water, (when cool use the water as well)
- 40ml of red wine vinegar
- 10ml of cider vinegar (or verjuice)
You will need some small metal or wooden skewers to pin the steaks together.
In a small bowl put the red wine vinegar, cider vinegar (or verjuice), the saffron and saffron water, ginger (fresh and ground) cinnamon and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix it with a fork, then let it sit for an hour in the fridge, after an hour mix it once more then reserve two tablespoon of this thin medieval ‘vinaigrette’, (put it in a small ramekin back in the fridge).
Hard boil eight eggs until each egg is fully cooked – shell the eggs and remove the whites – keep the hard yellow yolks.
To the main red wine ‘vinaigrette’ in the bowl add the finely chopped onion and the finely chopped parsley (reserve some parsley for a garnish). Mix it all together with a fork, then crumble in 4 boiled egg yolks, give it a final mix. Later it should all break down even more as you rub it into the meat.
Trim any excess fat off and place the lamb and beef steaks between some cling film and using a rolling pin roll out the steaks thinly.
One at a time, on a flat oven tray, place the lamb and beef steaks. Rub in the softened beef suet all over (if using proper suet from your butcher shred it and soften in an oven or in a saucepan on a gentle heat). Then rub over some of the prepared ‘vinaigrette’. Tightly roll each steak up, with the egg yolk, onion and parsley stuffing mix now inside.
To pin it, and stop it from unrolling, push a small metal skewer through the steak.
Rub some salt and freshly ground black pepper on the outside of the steaks to season. Cover and place the tray in the fridge for two hours to marinade the steaks.
After 2 hours remove the steaks from the fridge and leave the steaks covered to come up to room temperature.
The steaks are now ready to be cooked. Brush each steak with a little melted butter, and then brush a little of the reserved red wine ‘vinaigrette’ from the ramekin on them. Grill them under the oven (or on a BBQ) on high heat on each side, turning them over after 5 minutes, (or earlier depending on their thickness) – when you turn them brush with a little more melted butter and a little more medieval ‘vinaigrette’ from the ramekin.
Make sure all the meat is cooked, right the way through. Put on a plate and crumble over the 4 remaining hard boiled egg yolks and a bit of chopped parsley for a golden-green garnish. Leave to rest for ten minutes then serve hot with thick slices of fresh bread.