Dish – Another Fat hen

July 8, 2010

Following up on the earlier Fat Hen (Chenopodium Album) dish I decided to change the recipe somewhat. Granted in my last attempt the leaves mainly tasted of butter, so I decided to cut down on that.

Though using generally the same method of preparing the dish as in the previous attempt I changed the gathering slightly. Instead of gathering the whole plants, I picked the younger leaves of a handful plants until I ended up with a pot full of leaves. In order to get away from the stringy feeling of the earlier dish I also cut away the fibrous stem at the back of the leaves.

The leaves were then cooked for a short time and the water poured of. The leaves were taken out and in the same pot I melted a small knob of butter. To this I then added the leaves, some fresh cheese I’ve made earlier and a some whey. While the cheese made the dish feel “foodier” the whey added an acidic taste that was a rather nice addition to the dish. With the acidic taste of the whey I felt the minimal amount of salt added to the cheese felt quite enough. Still, it felt like a sort of side-dish that would require something else.

Though a wild plant and somewhat thinner than cabbage I would not be surprised if the leaves did not lend themselves perfectly for pickling in lactic acid. Something I ought look into if the weather is right and I can find something fitting to put it in.


3 Responses to “Dish – Another Fat hen”

  1. Pickling might soften up some of the older leaves too, especially if you pound them a bit.

  2. Diana Goodier said

    The report on the botanical evidence from the Dublin Viking period excavations in Fishamble Street says that they found Chenopodium album seeds. It mentions that, quite apart from eating the leaves, these seeds can be used to make porridge. The report also comments that they found the remains of a young girl whose stomach contents showed that fat hen porridge had been her last meal.

    Another possible experiment for you there?

    Love the recipes/experiments you’ve done so far!


    • eldrimner said

      Interesting, I seem to recall to have read about the seed being used to mix in with flour in order to make it last, but it does sound interesting with a porrdge made of Chenopod seeds. The fat hen is quite common in most sites I have been looking at, so i hold it quite likely that it was used for food in most places.

      Was the girl also found in Dublin or or does she come from another context?

      If I get my financing together i’ll soon be back in the fieldkitchen with some more experiments, at the moment I am working on trying to convert the recipes to more modern use i.e. making a cookbook out of it.

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