Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

medieval leeks and mushrooms

(1 rating)
Recipe by
Maureen Martin
Independence, MO

I adapted this recipe from one in an out-of-print edition of the SCA handbook (SCA = Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval re-creation service organization). The spices used are not those we usually associate with vegetables, but they are quite yummy! If you are in doubt, just use a pinch of each and see how it tastes. The original is from an actual medieval recipe called "Funges" from the 1390 CE cookbook, ~Forme of Curye,~. I have included it at the bottom of the cooking instructions below, along with my translation (such as it is) of the medieval English and some notes.

(1 rating)
yield 8 serving(s)
prep time 20 Min
cook time 15 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For medieval leeks and mushrooms

  • 1 lb
    mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2
    leeks, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 c
    chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/8 tsp
    ginger, ground
  • 1/8 tsp
    cardamom, ground
  • 1/8 tsp
    allspice, ground
  • 1/8 tsp
    black pepper, ground
  • To taste

How To Make medieval leeks and mushrooms

  • 1
    Use the whole leek (but trim roots & any withered ends, of course). Because of the way leeks are grown, it often happens that sand gets into the crevices, so be diligent when washing, as well as observant while slicing since the sand will sometimes reveal itself during this process. Rinse again as needed. (A technique I read about suggests cutting off the roots, then slicing the leek lengthwise - from the bottom up about 4", depending on the length of the leek - then rinsing and slicing. This keeps the leek together for ease of chopping because it's still connected by the green tops, but reveals the hidden places sand might reside.) If leeks are too expensive for your budget, you can substitute green onions and/or plain ol' yellow onions. But leeks really are tastier (as well as milder), and were quite commonly used in Medieval times, so do give them a try if you can.
  • 2
    Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Serve hot.
  • 3
    PREPARATION NOTE: If you like your mushroom slices on the thick side, you can use an egg slicer to speed up the task - just be sure your slicer is very sturdy as some of the cheaper ones can't tolerate the stress of slicing mushrooms. This technique also good for slicing olives, strawberries, kiwis, and any other soft food that will fit in the egg space.
  • 4
    ACTUAL MEDIEVAL RECIPE: Taken from ~Forme of Curye,~ ab. 1390 A.D. (Page 15r) Funges Take Funges & pare he clene & dyce he. take leke & shred hi smal & do hi to seeþ in gode broth. color yt wȝt safron and do þer inne pouder fort. and serve hit forth. Reference: TRANSLATION Funguses (Mushrooms) Take funguses and cut them clean and dice them. Take leek and shred them small and do them to seeth (boil) in good broth. Color it with saffron and do therein powder fort. And serve it forth.
  • 5
    NOTES of Interest The original recipe calls for pouder fort, which means "strong powder" (as opposed to pouder duce, or "sweet powder"), a mixture of strong ground spices. The exact ingredients varied from region to region as things do today; there was no definitive list of ingredients as it was considered something every cook would already know, but modern medieval researchers have made educated guesses. This translation suggests allspice as an option for the pouder fort, and indeed it is a tasty addition, but it wasn't available in medieval Europe, being a New World discovery. So if you want a fully medieval flavor, do a little research and look up a recipe for pouder fort and use it instead of the spices listed here. Notice additionally, there is no standard spelling, even within the same paragraph, nor capitalization at the beginning of a sentence. Also, in addition to using a kind of shorthand for commonly used words (like "&" - not the same as ours, but there is a resemblance), medieval writers also had a few other letters we no longer use (my favorite being þ [called Thorn] which is the voiced th sound in "this"). And, of course, there are no measurements. It was assumed that if you could read, you knew enough about cooking to use as much as you needed. Medieval cookbooks weren't written for housewives! Some may have been written just for posterity's sake, but it is believed most were written for cooks of the nobility. (Actually, it's possible many cooks couldn't read. They would likely have needed someone to read the recipe to them while they were cooking a dish the first time; hopefully they would remember it well enough to make it again later!)