A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Bruet Sarcenes

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

DESCRIPTION: A meat dish made with Sauce Sarcenes


53. Bruet Sarcenes. Take venyson: boyle hit, trye hit, do hit yn a pott. Take almond mylke drawyn up with the same brothe; cast theryn onyons, & aley hit up withe floure of rys, & caste yn clovys. Aftyr the boylyng, take hit doun; sesyn hit up with poudyr, wyn, & sygure, & coloure hit with alekenet.

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


Saracen Brewet. Take venison: boil it, drain it, and place in a pot. Take almond milk made from the broth; add onions, & thicken it with rice flour, and add cloves. Bring to a boil then remove from heat; season with powder, wine, & sugar, & color it red.


  • 2 lbs. of venison, beef, or pork roast
  • 2 cups Almond Milk (made with reserved broth; see recipe below)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 Tbs. rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. each cubeb (or black pepper), nutmeg, mace, etc.
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • few drops red food coloring
  • salt (to taste)
Chop the meat in pieces; place in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is tender. Drain meat, reserving broth; allow meat to cool, then chop into small, bite-sized chunks. Put aside. Make an almond milk according to the recipe, but use 2 cups of the reserved broth instead of water. Sauté the onion until just tender, drain, and add to the almond milk. Blend in the flour to achieve a thick, smooth consistency & then add the cloves. Slowly bring the almond milk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Reduce heat, add the additional spices, wine, and food coloring and allow to cook for several more minutes. (If sauce becomes too thick, add more wine or broth.) Remove from heat. Toss the meat with enough of the sauce to thoroughly coat, but no more. (This is not a soup or a stew!) Serve at once on platters or in bowls. Diners can eat the bite-sized pieces, coated in sauce, with their fingers or utensils.

OPTION: add raisins, currants, pine nuts, almonds, etc.

"Alekenet," or alkanet, was a red dye made from the roots of the alkanet plant. Red food coloring makes a satisfactory substitute. Make sure that the final color is a deep, dark red.

Bruet Sarcenes is so named because medieval Europeans saw Saracens, or Arabs, as having skin color of a deep, brown-red, which this dish is colored in imitation of.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Bruet Sarcenes © 2000 James L. Matterer

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