A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Sauce Sarcenes

PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: An Ordinance of Pottage | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A flavored red Almond Milk


56. Sauce Sarcenes. Make a thykke mylke of almondys; do hit in a pot with floure of rys, safron, gynger, macys, quibibis, canel, sygure: & rynse the bottom of the disch with fat broth. Boyle the sewe byfore, & messe hit forth.

- Hieatt, Constance B. An Ordinance of Pottage. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988.


Saracen Sauce. Make a thick almond milk; blend well with rice flour, saffron, ginger, mace, cubeb, cinnamon, sugar: and rinse the bottom of the dish with fat broth. Bring to a boil, and serve.


  • 2 cups Almond Milk
  • 8 Tbs. rice flour
  • few threads saffron
  • 1/2 tsp. each ginger, mace, cubeb, & cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 cup Gode Broth (made without bread crumbs)
  • few drops red food coloring
  • salt (to taste)
Heat the almond milk slowly; blend in the flour until you have a very thick, smooth sauce (use more or less flour as necessary). Add the spices & sugar, then blend in the gode broth. The sauce should be thinned to the consistency of gravy - judge the amount of broth to be used accordingly, and add more or use less as needed. Add enough food coloring to dye the final product a deep, dark red. Serve as an accompaniment to meat & poultry. 

Although the original recipe doesn't mention coloring the sauce red, the name Sarcenes (Saracen) implies that the color of the dish should be a deep red, in imitation of how Europeans viewed the skin coloring of Saracens, or Arabs. Similar Sarcenes dishes from the same collection of recipes specify the use of alkanet, a red dye from a plant root, as coloring. A modified Sauce Sarcenes is the main ingredient in Bruet Sarcenes.

Modern cooks might recognize the use of the thickened Almond Milk as a sort of Béchamel, or white sauce. White sauces, made of roux and cream or milk, are the basis of many modern gravies while Medieval sauces were often thickened with bread crumbs; Sauce Sarcenes seems to be an early version of the kind of gravies that are the norm today.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Sauce Sarcenes © 2000 James L. Matterer

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