August 8, 2011
Up in the far north at the viking festival of Lofotr museum, I had a chance to revisit some of the dishes I made last year. During the workshops we made two varieties of of savoury porridges-
On day one we worked with the more mundane food, so I wanted to make some sort of porridge that could have been eaten at a regular farm or by a trade on the go.
The cereal chosen for both porridges were barley seeds, as it would have been the most common in this area. For the porridge of day one I used barley that had been steeped over night, while on the second day the barley was instead crushed. As a base for both porridges, I simmered the herbs used for seasoning together with generous amounts of butter – according to cooking methods one observe in Anglo-Saxon Leechdoms.
Preparation of porridge I
In one pot boil a nice piece of smoked pork (I chose pork as I was inspired by a medieval recipe and bacon gives a rather nice taste. In this area smoked beef or lamb may have been more appropriate though).
When it is almost finished, melt some butter in another pot, add the herbs (in this case I used victory leek) and let it simmer for a while so that it will give the butter some taste.
Add the barley and stir it through the butter.
Meanwhile remove the meat from the other cauldron, and pour enough broth over the barley. Also add a good portion of soured milk.
When the barley starts to get the right consistency chop up the meat finely and add to the porridge.
(or rather taste,adjust, simmer serve)
The second was a bit more of a last minute invention as I found out that there was going to be a few people needing an alternative at the cooking pit event on third day of the festival.
Somewhat inspired by the above dish and a porridge from a Danish cookbook from 1616, I decided to make a vegetarian porridge that was intended to be served with smoked fish.
Due to being composed in the last minute we lacked any soaked barley and instead used barley that was ground on the hand-mill until it had the size of crushed barley.
Just as I the above recipe I let the herbs(in this case Victory Leek and Angelica) were simmered in generous amounts of butter, to this I added the ground barley, sourmilk and enough water to cover the barley – adding more water as it boiled away.
Though both dishes worked quite well and should fit within a Viking Age context, I found that of the both the dish made from ground barley had the better texture.
Though this entry was perhaps the most recipe like so far a proper recipe will be published as I finishes my Viking cookbook by the end of this year.