Winter Squash Soup Fringed with Saffron
Menagier de Paris (under soups)
Let the rind be peeled, for that is best: and always if you want the insides, let the seeds be removed, though it is said that the rind is worth more, then cut up the rind in pieces, then parboil, then chop lengthways, then put to cook in beef fat: almost at the end yellow it with saffron or throw saffron thread by thread, one here, another there; this is what cooks call ‘fringed with saffron’.
The Medieval Kitchen Page 55-56
For squash, peel them and cut them into slices. Remove seeds if there are any and cook them in water in a pan, then drain them and rince in cold water; squeeze them and chop them finly; mix with some beef and other meat broth and add cow’s milk, and mix half a dozen egg yolks, put through a sieve, into the brothe and milk; on fast days [use] the cooking water from [dried] peas, or almond milk, and butter. (From Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, edited by Jerome Pichon and Georges Vicaire)
Sylvie’s Redaction: (assuming 1/2 cup soup per person)
In our period of study this was probably prepared with gourds (Lagenaria vulgaris). These aren’t available so I used acorn squash. To keep this as a vegetarian dish I used butter and milk instead of beef fat and broth.
5 1/2 lbs squash
12 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
8 cups milk
12 egg yolks
1/4 tsp saffron threads
Slice squash. Remove seeds and any woody ribs. Parboil squash until soft (about 15-30 mins). Squish soft squash out of rind and squish with your fingers. Be sure to remove any woody parts you feel. At this point you can freeze it or refrigerate it for up to three days.
Melt butter. Add Squash. When butter and squash are all melted together, Add 3 cups of the milk. Cook until the puree is smooth and glossy and tastes cooked (about 30 mins). Add salt and pepper. Add the rest of the milk. Bring to simmer. Temper egg yolks with warm milk. Add yolks to squash. Add saffron threads to soup. Serve warm. Serves about 16 – 1/2 cup servings.
For the feast I made 5 times this recipe. It was very well received. We ran into problems because I tried to make it as one big pot on the stove. Finally, to get it to heat up all the way, we separated it into two pots. Next time I do a feast I think I’ll plan for all the dishes to be in 2-4 pots.