Henne In Bokenade is a Chicken dish made from a 15th Century medieval receipt (recipe) and to thicken a dish like this in the Medieval period either ground almonds, (almond milk) or egg yolk was used as a common thickening agent. A dish of this sort was very popular in Medieval England, with Bokenade originally being a dish of stewed veal – later the idea came to include other meats, such as chicken. It is normally placed as a ‘side dish’ to the main roast meats of the first course, or in larger quantities, used as a main dish itself within a course.
In esssense a Bokenade (or Buknade) is a gently spiced and thickened chicken stock (broth) with chicken pieces and there are two recipes given which we looked at in detail, both coming from ‘Two-Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books’ – the title of which comes from combining two unnamed medieval manuscripts, Harleian MSS. 279 and 4016, kept in the British Museum, and dated 1430 and 1450 AD. We will be making the Auter Maner Buknade, from Harl 4016.
Tasting Notes: This was very nice after the full hour of simmering, the herbs and spices had mellowed and the broth had developed a maturity which was lacking in it after the first ten minutes, (when the ground cloves and mace dominated the taste) therefore this broth needs at least an hour to cook out, and will improve again if reheated from cold the next day. At the time of serving there was a sweetness and mellowness about the dish, with a nice subtle taste of almonds and wine. As a dish among several in a medieval course it is highly recommended, and it would go very well with fresh breads. If you want a very thick broth do not strain out the ground almonds, but leave them in.
15th Century Recipts For ‘Bokenade’ OR ‘Buknade’
From ‘Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books’, 1430-1450 A.D. (MSS Harliean 279 and 4016)
.xxxvj. Vele, kede, or henne in Bokenade. Take Vele, Kyde, or Henne, an boyle hem in fayre Water, or ellys in freysshe brothe, an smyte hem in pecys, an pyke hem clene; an þan draw þe same brothe þorwe a straynoure, an caste þer-to Percely, Sawge, Ysope, Maces, Clowys, an let boyle tyl þe flesshe be y-now; þan sette it from þe fyre, & a-lye it vp with raw yolkys of eyroun, & caste þer-to pouder Gyngere, Verious, Safroun, & Salt, & þanne serue it forth for a good mete.
Auter maner buknade. Take rawe Almondes, and blanche hem, and grynde hem, and draw hem thorgh a streynour with fresh broth and wyne into good stiff mylke; And then take veel, kyde, or hen, and parboile hem in fressh brothe, and pike hem clene, and cast him thereto; take Clowes, maces, and herbes, and lete hem boile ynowe; And then caste a litull Sugur, pouder ginger, and salt, and serue him forth.
Henne In Bokenade Recipe
If you want to, use veal or goat meat to replace the chicken.
- 700g Chicken breasts (diced small)
- 250ml fresh chicken stock
- 250ml of white wine
- 100g of ground almonds
- 2 tsp dried parsley (or fresh)
- 2 tsp dried sage (or fresh)
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 30g of soft brown sugar (demerara)
- 1 tsp sea salt
To make the ‘stiff mylke’: in a bowl add the ground almonds, white wine and chicken stock. Mix thoroughly, then cover the bowl and leave to sit in the fridge for an hour or two. After at least an hour in the fridge, pass the almond broth through a fine sieve, use the back of a spoon to press all the stock out of the remaining ground almonds, (either discard the ground almonds, or reserve some to thicken the broth later on).
Put the strained ‘mylke’ into a saucepan and bring to a simmer below the boil. Add the parsley, sage, mace, and cloves, and three-quarters of the sugar, ginger and salt, (keep a small pinch of each reserved) and stir them in. Then dice the chicken breasts small and add them to this broth. Keep the broth at a gentle simmer for 60 minutes to fully cook the chicken and let the herbs and spices develop and mellow. Stir occasionally. If left on a low heat you could put the bokenade ingredients into a casserole dish with the lid on and put it into an oven at 160C for two hours.
After an hour bring the broth up to a boil to reduce the stock by one-third to thicken it (or add some of the reserved ground almonds). When it is thickened remove from the saucepan to a serving bowl and sprinkle over the remaining pinch of salt, sugar and ginger.