Ask Chef Christy Fylettys en Galentyne

Fylettys en Galentyne – Pork Fit For A King!

Spending Friday night making food fit for historical Kings?  Of course I do, doesn’t everyone?  Fylettys en Galentyne is a wonderful slow-braised pork dish with sliced onions, cooked in a spiced broth that is thickened with breadcrumbs at the end.  Why am I making a Royal delicacy on my weekend, you ask?  I just started taking a free on-line class through the University of Reading and FutureLearn called “A History of Royal Food and Feasting”.   It is a 5-week course that explores the culinary history of different monarchs in England starting with Henry VIII, moving through Elizabeth, and ending with Victoria.  There will be a week spent on George III and his diet while recuperating from what is now believed to be porphyria.  Since a friend of mine suffers from this, I am interested to see what an 18th century diet for this condition that drove King George mad will look like.

Each week the course covers background history along with biographical information on the royal in question.  Using a variety of media from timelines, videos, discussion groups and short quizzes, it took me about 3 hours to go through all of the info presented.  Then they feature a recipe and give a redacted and somewhat simplified version of it for you to try at home.  There are also a couple of additional recipes if you want to try something else.

This week the featured recipe was Tarte Owt of Lent, which is a lovely seasoned cheese paste cooked in a free-standing crust.  Watching the gentleman make his crust in the Hampton Court Palace Kitchen video was a pleasurable exercise of seeing a master at his craft.  But, since I’ve been making a lot of cheese tarts this past month (see my posts about Gluten-Free Pie Shells), I decided to try the Additional Recipes instead, starting with  Fylettys en Galentyne.  I have been an historical reenactor my entire adult life, and cut my teeth on historic cooking on this very manuscript source over 35 years ago, so I have made this dish before.  They have a very good and serviceable recipe worked out and posted alongside the original, which in this case is from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (Harleian MS. 27, c.1430 – Early English Text Society print, 1888).  In the class version of the recipes they leave off some of the more esoteric methodology and spices, but since I have a pretty good selection of spices for this era of cooking, I decided to work from the original.  I had a couple of books on my shelves that had copies of this original as well as a few other versions. Since medieval and renaissance recipes rarely include volumes or amounts, modern renditions or ‘redactions’ of them tend to vary depending on the cook that worked them out, and it is sometimes helpful to compare different cook’s work on the same recipe to see how they interpreted it.  One suggestion for the class version of this recipe was their recommendation to cut the pork into 1 cm slices.  I interpreted the direction “smyte hit in peces” to mean something closer to bite-sized chunks, which is how I cut mine.

 Here is the original receipt:

Fylettys en Galentyne

 Take faire porke of the fore quarter, and take of the skyn, and
put the pork on a faire spitte, and roste it half ynogh; and take
hit of, and smyte hit in peces, and cast hit in a faire potte; and then take oynons, and shred and pul hem, not to small, and fry hem in a pan with faire grece, And then caste hem to the porke into the potte;
And then take good broth of beef or Motton, and cast thereto, and set hit on the fire, and caste to pouder of Peper, Canel, Cloues and Maces, and lete boile wel togidur; and then take faire brede and vinegre, and stepe the brede with a litull of the same broth, and streyne hit thorgh a streynour, and blode with all; or elles take Saundres and colour hit therewith, and late hem boile togidur, and cast thereto Saffron and salt, and serue hit forth.
My version:
1 1/2 lb pork shoulder roast, seared in a cast iron skillet and roasted to medium rare. After resting, it was cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 large red onion and 1 large white onion, sliced and sauteed in the roasting pan with juices.
2 cups beef broth, simmered wtih spices and strained into the pan with the pork and onions.   All spices were hand-ground with a mortar and pestle, the cinnamon stick was grated on a microplane.  The pan was put back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes.
          1/2 tsp. black peppercorn powder
          1/2 tsp. cassia cinnamon stick powder
          1/2 tsp. mace blade powder
          1/4 tsp. clove powder
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar were added to the sauce
2 slices of multi-grain gluten-free bread.  I am gluten-free, but wanted to use breadcrumbs from a loaf that would be close to grains that might have been found in medieval loaves (not the pure white manchet bread crumbs they were probably using for Henry, but my kitchen is more modest).  The grains in the bread included oats, millet, and rice.  The bread was toasted and crumbled into large crumbs.  The broth from the roasting pan was strained into a small stockpot, the breadcrumbs were added and allowed to heat for a few minutes until it started to thicken.  Then the sauce was forced back through a strainer.
Ground Saunders (a bright red, non-aromatic sandalwood powder that was used to color foods in the middle ages), a couple of hefty pinches of saffron (because I believe in being able to taste it if you are using it) and a couple of teaspoons of salt finished the gravy and turned it a nice deep red-orange.
I pulled out my clay pipkin and my replica of a spoon pulled up off of the 16th-century Spanish shipwreck of the Atocha to get an appropriate look for the final picture.
How did it taste?  Fantastic!  One of the redacted recipes I looked at recommended 1/2 cup of vinegar, while the class redaction recommended 1 tbsp.  I felt one tablespoon wasn’t enough, but two gave it just the right amount of sour.  1/2 cup would make it really tart!

You can check out the video of the Hampton Court Palace cook making Fylettes en Galentyne too!

If I get the chance to try the other Additional Recipe for this week it will be Ryschewys – little hand tarts filled with a mixture of dates, currants, pine nuts and spices.  I have a gluten free pie crust dough made up in the fridge, so it may yet happen.
There is another class on Monday, so I’m looking forward to new recipes to try next week!

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