This medieval leek recipe is flavorful and interesting.
The leeks and salt pork cook until they are so soft that they almost melt, leaving the slivered almonds to make a textural statement. Each bite transitions from the saltiness of the broth, to the soft flavors of the leeks and pork, then ends with a strong nutty, crunchy finish. I’ve made it as in the original, but if I were to make it again, I might include a sprig or two of herbs for some added nutrients and complexity. It would also be tasty paired with a nice toasted slice of dark rye bread.
I’d guess that this could be a strong contender for any of the smaller noble houses. It doesn’t rely on a wealth of fresh ingredients, but is strong and tasty. Given the inclusion of pork, I’m going to be funny and say it should be served at the Tarly residence, Horn Hill.
Recipe for White Leek Bruet
“To make white leeks, he who is in charge of them should arrange that he has his leeks and slice them small and wash them very well and put to boil. And take a good piece of salt chine of pork, and clean it very well and put it to boil therewith; and when they are well boiled take them out onto fair and clean tables, and let them save the broth in which they were boiled, and let there be a good mortar full of blanched almonds, and then take the broth in which the said leeks have boiled and draw up the almonds with it, and if there is not enough of the said broth take beef or mutton broth — and take care that it is not too salty; and then afterward put your bruet to boil in a fair and clean pot. And then take two fair and clean knives and chop your leeks, and then take them and bray them in a mortar; and, being brayed, put them into your broth, of almonds as much as water, to boil. And the leeks being boiled, when it comes to the side board put your meat on fair serving dishes and then the said broth of the said leeks put on top.” –Du Fait de Cuisine, 1420
Cook’s Notes: I’ve streamlined the original instructions somewhat below, for simplicity’s sake. I don’t think it alters the overall effect in any large degree.
- 2 Leeks, white part only
- 1/4 lb. Salt pork, rinsed and sliced thinly into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 2 cups beef broth
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup Water
Rinse leeks and cut the white section of them into 1/4″ rounds. Put the leeks in a pot with the sliced salt pork and cover with 2 cups water.
Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until leeks are tender and pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Strain the broth into a bowl, reserving the leeks and salt pork. Pour this liquid back into the pot, along with the 2 cups beef broth and the ground almonds. Bring to a boil again. Once the leeks have cooled slightly, mash them between your fingers, or with a spoon. Add back into the broth along with the 1/2 cups water and blanched almonds, and simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture should thicken slightly from the almond flour, and be a nice rich color from the beef broth. Ladle into serving bowls, and consider serving with rye toast.