“Four master pyromancers conjured up beasts of living flame to tear at each other with fiery claws whilst the serving men ladled out bowls of blandissory, a mixture of beef broth and boiled wine sweetened with honey and dotted with blanched almonds and chunks of capon.” -A Storm of Swords
This is a great example of how sweet and savory elements are often combined in a medieval dish. The chicken and broth, and to some extent even the wine are more commonly served as savory dishes, while cinnamon, ginger, and honey are more often associated with sweet dishes, like cookies and desserts.
This dish is quirky, and while not especially appealing in appearance, it is actually quite tasty. The almond and rice flours thicken the broth to a consistency just shy of a medium gravy. The chicken is wonderfully soft and flavorful, a great textural counterpoint to the occasioinal crunch of the almonds.
Also, while the text excerpt calls for beef broth, I found that this is a wonderful way to use a second day roast chicken. Simply pick off any remaining meat, and boil down the carcass for broth. Very economical, and in keeping with the traditional practices of not letting anything go to waste. Of course, if you’re a Lannister, you needn’t worry about such things…
All in all, a quirky dish, but not without its merits. Medieval food surprises yet again!
Recipe for Blandissory
Makes: about 2 servings Prep: 5-10 minutes
Blaundesore to potage. Take almondes and grynde hom when thai byn blounchet and tempur hom, on fysshe day wyth wyn, and on flesheday with broth of flesh, and put hit in a pot, and therto floure of rys, and let hit boyle ; then take the braune of hennes, or of capons, and bray hom, and tempur hit up with the broth of the capons, and do hit in the pot, and colour hit with saffron; and do therto gynger mynced, and powder of canel, and sugur ynogh, and serve hit forth, and florish hit with white annys. –Ancient Cookery (England, 1425)
Cook’s Notes: I used red wine because it’s what I had open, but a white wine would make for a very pretty dish, especially with the saffron to color it.
- 1/4 cup Ground almonds
- 2 cups meat broth
- 1 cup wine
- 2 Tbs. rice flour
- ~1 cup shredded and chopped cooked chicken meat
- pinch of saffron (if using white wine)
- pinch ground ginger
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 1-2 Tbs. sugar or honey
- blanched almonds for garnish (~1/4 cup)
Combine ground almonds with wine/broth, and bring to a boil. Gradually add the rice flour, whisking to avoid creating clumps. Add the chicken, spices, and honey, and stir for around 2 minutes.
Pour into your serving dish, sprinkle with almonds, and serve!