Recipe Source: Hieatt, Constance B. and R. F. Jones. "Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections." Speculum 61 859-82. Reprinted in Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks, second edition. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1996.
This recipe kind of threw me for a loop when I saw it. I decided to test the recipe for use in the large lunch I'm serving today, mostly because it was intended to be served cold. That made it perfect for the buffet lunch, as I was trying to keep from having to use the kitchen much. The sauce looked interesting too. I had been going through a bit of a sage phase when I decided on the recipe, although the phase had passed by the time I got around to testing the recipe. It looked like an interesting enough sauce, so I decided to go ahead and try it. The result was interesting. I didn't expect the sauce to be as spicy as it turned out to be - a small blessing, really. I also had a real issue finding enough sage to make enough sauce for 300 people, believe it or not. I cleaned out two whole stores of their supplies. I used dried to save money, since the budget I had was very tight. The use of boiled eggs in the sauce was really the odd thing. I guess it made sense; you don't want to be serving raw egg yolks, especially not when you're serving a large number of people.
I didn't make a lot of changes. The original recipe allowed for pork; I promised someone a long time ago that I would never serve pork at one of these events and so I decided to go with chicken. As mentioned, I used dried spices to accommodate budgetary considerations. I didn't add any of the various suggested "other" spices at the end, as the recipe was quite spicy enough for most people. The main change that I made involved the egg whites. The original called for the whites to be minced and mixed in with the sauce. I couldn't make myself do it. It looked too unappetizing to me. Instead, I served them on the side, allowing people to decide for themselves whether or not egg whites made sense. When I tested the recipe, most people opted to avoid the whites. The one or two people who tried them thought they were okay, with one of them appreciating the textural difference that they provided. I was one of the diners who avoided the whites, so I can't say for myself.
Cold Chicken with Sage Sauce (serves 6; approx. cost per serving not available)
1 1/2 lb cold roast chicken
2 tablespoons dried sage
4 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- Cut the eggs in half. Empty the yolks into the blender. Reserve the whites.
- Put the sage, vinegar, salt and ginger into the blender with the yolks and puree.
- Mince the egg whites as finely as you can. Either stir them into the sauce or place in a bowl and pass separately. Alternatively, you can make a Donner Party diorama and wow your friends with them.
- Slice up the chicken. Spoon the sauce alongside and serve.