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History Cookbook: Stuffed Mackerel

This recipe is in categories Tudors, Main courses
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  • Stuffed Mackerel
    Stuffed Mackerel
About this recipe
Healthiness : (105 votes)
Difficulty:  2 out of 5 difficulty
View a modern version of this recipe

Fish was an important part of the Tudor diet. In the Middle Ages, when England was a Catholic country, there were many saints' days and holy days which required that people should not eat meat. Fish was usually served on these days. Although England broke with the Catholic church under Henry VIII, fish days continued in the new church.

This stuffed mackerel recipe is a good example of a middle class dish from the Tudor period. The fish is stuffed and tied with string, then baked in a pot by the fire. Once it is cooked, it is lifted out and decorated on a plate.

This original recipe explains how to make the dish:

"Take a large trout, fair trimmed and wash it and put in a deep pewter dish, then take half a pint of white wine, with a lump of butter and a little mace, parsley, savoury and thyme and put them into the trout’s belly ( minced fine) and so let it stew a quarter of an hour, then mince the yolk of a hard egg and strew it on the trout and laying herbs about it, and scraping on sugar, serve it up."

Sugar and mace would make this a very expensive dish; a middle class household would be unlikely to use these in a meal. We have omitted these from our recipe.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Stuffed Mackerel Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast
  • 1 trout/mackerel (per person)
  • butter
  • 1 sprig parsley, thyme
  • white wine or fish stock
  • for decorating: 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Fish slice
  • Weighing scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife
  • String
  • Serving plate
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Wash the fish, place a pot by the fire to warm
  2. Place the butter and herbs in the belly of the fish. These can be made into a herb butter if preferred
  3. Tie the fish closed
  4. Pour the stock or wine into a pan large enough to stew (simmer) the fish
  5. Simmer by the fire  until the fish is done. The flesh should be firm with no blood
  6. Carefully lift the fish from the pan and cut away the string
  7. Decorate with sliced or crumbled hard boiled egg
  8. Serve hot
Stuffed Mackerel  - print view  Stuffed Mackerel - print view

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There are 5 comments for this recipe.
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Name: LOL 21st March 2019
We used this recipe LOL
Name: Fatima 4th July 2016
Name: Kaeden 25th September 2012
When you think about it, that's got to be the right aneswr.
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