Bhakail Yule - an ongoing set of posts
I have been asked to lead the kitchen to cook the feast for a nearby Society of Creative Anachronism group, the Barony of Bhakail for the holiday of Yule. This group usually holds a Yule celebration in early December every year. It has been my honor in the past to assist in that kitchen, and this year I have been asked to lead it.
There have been discussions already, and we have a rough outline of a menu. One of the dishes we are looking at is Ham with Orange Wine Sauce. The recipe that attracted my attention is from To The Queen's Taste by Lorna J. Sass, copyright 1976.
At first, I was taken by the redaction, which sounds pretty tasty, and then I started looking at the original recipe.
The original is from The English Hous-Wife by Gervase Markam, and reads as follows:
"Take Orenges and slice them thin, and up unto them White Wine and Rose Water, the powder of Mace, Ginger and Suger, and set the same upon a Chaffing dish of coales, and when it half boyled, put to it a good lump of butter, and then lay good store of sippets of fine white bread therein, and so serve your Chickens upon them, and trim the sides of the dish with sugar."
Having read that, I decided to go my own way, rather than follow Ms. Sass' redaction.
I got some seedless oranges, sliced them thin without peeling them and placed them in a saucepan with 3/4 of a cup of leftover white wine and a 1/4 cup of rose water, some powered mace and powered ginger and teaspoon of sugar. I brought all of this to a boil and left it sit covered on simmer for about an hour.
At the end of the hour, I fished out the orange slices and set them aside, arranging some of the slices on plates.
I let the sauce reduce a few more minutes and then added some bread crumbs and whisked it. The bread crumbs thickened the sauce nicely. In fact, it was a little too thick, so I cut with a little more orange juice until I was happy with the texture. I did not put butter in this time, but will try that next time.
Once the sauce was done, I left it on a warmer burner and fried up a ham steak. I put the ham on top of the orange slices, topped it with the sauce and another orange slice.
The taste was very rich and a nice mixture of sweet, sour and bitter. It went well with the salty ham.
I'm looking forward to continuing the experiments.