‘Blawmanger. Tak the two del rys, the thridde pert of almoundes;
wash clene the rys in leuk water & turne & seth hem til thay breke &
lat it kele, and tak the melk & do it to the rys & boyle hem togedere. &
do therto white gres & braun of hennes ground smale, and stere it wel,
and salte it & dresch it in disches. & frye almoundes in fresch gres til
they be browne, & set hem in the dissches, and strawe thereon sugre &
serue it forth.’ (CI. III. 28.)
Imagine the world of Geoffrey Chaucer in the ‘Canterbury Tales‘. A group of travellers, including clerics, monks, prioresses, friars, knights and merchants were bound on a journey together to make a pilgrimage. They finally stopped to cook a meal before continuing the journey. What did they eat? Rice cooked with tender chicken and ground almond. The knights and merchants would naturally get bigger lumps of chicken in their servings, compared to the monks and friars.
Having made this dish for myself, it is not difficult to imagine how nice-tasting it would have served as a meal along a tough journey. The ground almond turns the rice into a semi-porridge texture, making the rice sweet and full-flavoured. The chicken enhances the texture of the dish further, allowing for a full meal on its own. Considering how much effort was possibly put into making this one single dish out in the open, it must have been a luxury for Chaucer’s characters to have. On a pilgrimage too!
- Almond slices: 50g
- Long-grain rice: 450g, washed
- Chicken stock cube: 3
- Water: 5 cups (1.1 liters) + 2 cups (350ml)
- Ground almond: 250g
- Minced chicken: 300g
- Chicken breast with fat or skin: 600g, sliced thinly
- Salt (optional): 1 tsp
- Ground blackpepper: 1 tsp
- Sugar: 1/2 tsp per serving
- Saffron: few strands per serving
- Bake almond slices in oven at 180 °C for 12 min. Set aside to cool.
- Microwave rice on high heat with 2 chicken stock cubes and 5 cups water.
- In the meantime, add ground almond and 1 chicken stock cube in remaining water.
- Leave to simmer for 10 min.
- Transfer cooked rice into large pot. Stir in almond milk.
- Stir in chicken meat, salt and pepper.
- Leave to simmer for 15 min on low heat till chicken is fully cooked.
- Serve onto plate. Sprinkle with sugar and saffron.
- Garnish with toasted almond slices to serve.
- Keep stirring the rice while simmering it with almond milk to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- This recipe is kindly adapted from ‘The Medieval Cookbook’ by Maggie Black.
- The original recipe uses chicken stock instead of the Knorr chicken stock cubes that I used here.