Medieval Recipes #2: Henne in Bokenade


December 13, 2013 by phicks2012

So, I decided to try another Medieval Recipe, picking another one that I had most of the ingredients for on hand. Here’s the original recipe, taken from “A Boke of Gode Cookery” at


PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Chicken stewed in broth and herbs

.xxxvj. Vele, kede, or henne in Bokenade. Take Vele, Kyde, or Henne, an boyle hem in fayre Water, or ellys in freysshe brothe, an smyte hem in pecys, an pyke hem clene; an þan draw þe same brothe þorwe a straynoure, an caste þer-to Percely, Sawge, Ysope, Maces, Clowys, an let boyle tyl þe flesshe be y-now; þan sette it from þe fyre, & a-lye it vp with raw yolkys of eyroun, & caste þer-to pouder Gyngere, Verious, Safroun, & Salt, & þanne serue it forth for a good mete.

– Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888


Stewed Veal, kid, or hen in Sauce. Take Veal, Kid (goat), or Hen (chicken), and boil it in water, or else in fresh broth, and cut it into pieces, and pick it clean; and then draw the same broth through a strainer, and cast into it Parsley, Sage, Hyssop, Mace, Cloves, and let it boil till the flesh is done; then set it from the fire, & mix it up with raw egg yolks, and cast into it powder Ginger, Verjuice, Saffron, & Salt, & then serve it forth for a good meat.

1 whole chicken
fresh chicken broth (optional)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2 Tbs. chopped sage leaves
1 Tbs. chopped hyssop
1 tsp. each mace & cloves
1 dozen egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbs. ginger
1/2 cup verjuice (red wine vinegar)
1/8 tsp. saffron
1/8 tsp. salt
Place the chicken in a large pot; cover with water or fresh chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking until the meat is tender & falling from the bone; remove from the broth & allow to drain & cool. Pick the meat from the bones, discarding the fat & skin, and cut into large chunks. Place meat in a separate large pot. Strain the broth to discard all meat, fat, etc.; add just enough broth to the chicken in the pot to just come to the top of the meat. Add the herbs & bring to a boil, then reduce heat; beat in the egg yolks, spices, and vinegar and simmer until thick. Serve as a main meat dish. Serves 6-8.
Bokenade was originally a dish of stewed veal; later the idea came to include other meats, such as chicken.

Hint: when using either water or broth to boil the chicken, add a healthy shot of wine; if using water, be sure to add a little salt & pepper.



This was easy to make, though I cut the recipe in half and left out the Hyssop and Saffron (for lack of having any). I also had to leave out the wine because when I went to add some I discovered that every single bottle of wine (or liquor for that matter) in the house had only water in it — thanks to an alcoholic housemate. How do you safely secure alcohol if locks don’t do the trick?

The Actual Recipe I Used:

8 Chicken Drumsticks
Fresh chicken broth (optional)
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. each ground mace & ground cloves
1/2 dozen egg yolks, beaten
1/2 Tbs. ginger
1/4 cup verjuice (red wine vinegar)
Salt to taste

I served it over Whole Grain Pasta, and it was quite nice, though it might have thickened better if I’d used a bit less chicken broth in the second phase before adding the eggyolks, spices and vinegar.

I had enough for several meals, and if you try this, let me know how it turns out!!

2 thoughts on “Medieval Recipes #2: Henne in Bokenade

  1. woodrow says:

    ok— what is hysop?

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December 2013


I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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