Bert Christensen's Weird & Different Recipes
Peacock
Cockentrice (A Marvelous Beast)
 1 Suckling pig, about 7 pounds
1 lg Roasting chicken, about 6 pounds
6 Egg yolks
1/4 ts Powdered saffron
1/2 c All-purpose flour
1/4 c White wine
1 tb Fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped
1 tb Flour

"The extraordinary "beasts" created by these instructions never were seen on land or sea. A bestiary pair, these chicken and pork visual as well as edible delights were intended to startle as well as feed. The creation of such illusion foods was an important contribution of the medieval cook to the flamboyant art forms of the medieval feast."

Bake the chicken and the suckling pig separately at 375 F until tender; the chicken ought to take 2 hours, the suckling pig closer to 3.

Cut the chicken in half with the incision running around the body behind the wings. The forward half is thus separated from the hind parts. Similarly cleave the pig so that the "head and shoulders" are cut from the back half of the animal. With a strong butcher's thread or "carpet" thread sew the forward half of the chicken to the back half of the pig; sew the pig's "head and shoulders" to the hind half of the capon. Each is now a cockentrice. Turn oven up to 400F.

Lightly beat the egg yolks. Mix in the saffron and flour to make a thick fluid. Paint this on the suture lines as well as various parts of either the "face" or appendages--gold snout and gold nails were typical adornments.

Return these marvellous animals to the oven so the gold "endoring" may set and the final creatures appear resplendent.

Mix the parsley in white wine with flour until the green color well permeates the fluid. If not a bright green, add two drops of green food coloring. Paint on "feathers" or designs for final embellishing of the cockentrice, your fancy guiding your hand.

From: Fabulous Feasts, Medieval Cookery and Ceremony Shared By: Pat Stockett

Collected by Bert Christensen
Toronto, Ontario