MC Logo

Gelye de Chare

This is a rough approximation of one of the many various gelatin dishes served in the middle ages. Because it is meat-flavored, it would probably be referred to as an aspic modernly.

I've experimented with medieval methods of producing gelatin from pork and cow's feet, and while they work, they are a lot of work for an end result that - while edible and not unpleasant - simply isn't that suited to the modern palate. This recipe comes reasonably close, and is a good way to provide a new experience for the adventurous diner.


1 package (1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin
1 cup clear meat broth
1/8 cup meat, cut into small strips
pinch salt
pinch saffron


Dissolve gelatin into heated broth. Add remaining ingredients. Chill until set. Serve cold.

Source [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]: Cix - Gelye de chare. Take caluys fete, and skalde hem in fayre water, an make hem alle the whyte. Also take howhys of Vele, and ley hem on water to soke out the blode; then take hem vppe, an lay hem on a fayre lynen clothe, and lat the water rennyn out of hem; than Skore (Note: Scour) a potte, and putte the Fete and the Howhys ther-on; than take Whyte Wyne that wolle hold coloure, and cast ther-to a porcyon, an non other lycoure, that the Fleysshe be ouer-wewyd (Note: See other Cookery, No. 174, wese) withalle, and sette it on the fyre, and boyle it, and Skeme it clene; an whan it is tendyr and boylid y-now, take vppe the Fleyshe in-to a fayre bolle, and saue the lycoure wyl; and loke that thow haue fayre sydys of Pyggys, and fayre smal Chykenys wyl and clene skladdyd and drawe, and lat the leggys an the fete on, an waysshe hem in fayre water, and caste hem in the fyrste brothe, an sethe it a-3en ouer the fyre, and skeme it clene; lat a man euermore kepe it, an blow of the grauy. An in cas the lycoure wast (Note: Waste) a-way, caste more of the same wyne ther-to, and put thin honde ther-on; and 3if thin hond waxe clammy, it is a syne of godenesse, an let not the Fleyshe be moche sothe, (Note: boiled) that it may bere kyttyng; than take it vppe, and ley it on a fayre clothe, and sette owt the lycoure fro the fyre, and put a few colys vnder-nethe the vesselle that the lycoure is yn; than take pouder of Pepir, a gode quantyte, and Safron, that it haue a fayre Laumbere coloure, and a gode quantyte of Vynegre, and loke that it be sauery of Salt and of Vynegre, fayre of coloure of Safroun, and putte it on fayre lynen clothe, and sette it vndernethe a fayre pewter dysshe, and lat it renne thorw the clothe so ofte tylle it renne clere: kytte fayre Rybbys of the syde of the Pygge, and lay ham on a dysshe, an pulle of the lemys of the Chykenys, eche fro other, and do a-way the Skynne, and ley sum in a dysshe fayre y-chowchyd, (Note: Y-couched; laid) and pore thin (Note: Thine) gelye ther-on, and lay Almaundys ther-on, an Clowys, and paryd Gyngere, and serue forth.

Source [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]: Gely. Take Calues fete, and scalde hem faire, and ley hem in faire water, and late hem wex white; Also take ho3os of fele, (Note: Douce MS.; houghys of veel) and ley hem in faire water fore to soke oute the blode; And then take hem oute of the water, and ley hem in a faire lynnen clothe, and lete the water ren oute; And then take a faire scoured potte, and put al thes ho3os and calues fete therin; And then take good white wyn, that woll hold colloure, or elles fyne claret wyne, and caste thereto a porcion, and none other licoure, that the flessh be ouer-wose (Note: Douce MS. reads, nere wese with-alle) with al; and sette hit ouer the fire, and boile hit, and skem hit clene. Whan hit is boylled tender ynowe, take vppe the flessh in a faire bolle, And save wel the licoure; and loke that thou have faire sides of pigges, And faire smale chekynes scalded, and drawe hem, (and the legges and the fete on), (Note: Thus Douce MS.: Harl. MS. hem legges and sette on) and wassh faire, and caste hem in the same first broth, And set hit ayen ouer the fire, and skym hit clene, and lete a man euere-more kepe hit, and blow of the grauey; And in case that the licour waste awey, cast more of the same wyne there-to; And put thi honde there-to, And, if thi honde be clammy, Hit is a signe that it is gode; and lete not the flessh be so moche ysod that hit may bere no kuttyng; And then take hit vppe, and ley hit on a faire clothe, and set oute the licoure fro the fire; And put a fewe coles vnder the vessell that the lycoure is yn; and take salt, pouder of peper, and good quantite of saffron, (that hit haue faire Ambur colour,) and a good quantite of vinegre; And loke that hit be sauery of the salt and of the vinegre, and faire of colour of saffron; And put hit in a faire lynen clothe, And sette vnder-neth a faire dissh, and late hit ren thorgh the cloth so oft that hit ren clene (Note: Douce MS. clere); And if thou seest that hit hath to litull of the vinegre, or salt, or saffron, caste thereto more, after thi discrecion; And then kut faire sidde ribbes of the sides of pigges, and ley hem on a chargeour or on a dissh, (Note: Douce MS. adds [and pull the loynes of the chekyne iche from othere, and take awey the skyn, and pulle hem in quartres, and ley a quarter of a chikyne and a ribbe of the pygge to-gedrys on a dissh.]) (Note: Some ambiguity surrounds the placement of the foregoing note since the editor has given two markers for its location in the text. The text included between the two markers is the following: "vinegre, or salt, or saffron, caste thereto more, after thi discrecion; And then kut faire sidde ribbes of the sides of pigges, and ley hem on a chargeour or on a dissh". It is unclear whether the text added from the Douce MS. actually replaces this text in the Douce MS. or supplements it. See notes, p. 89, betwwen "and broth" and by "caste there-to," both under heading Elys in Sorre .) And set hit faire on a colde place, and powre the gely theron; And then take faire blanched almondes, and caste anone thereon er hit kele, and foilles of tried pared ginger; and lete stonde to kele.

Published: March 15, 2011

Home : Recipes : Menus : Search : Books : FAQ : Contact