print this recipe Print this recipe   save to disk Save to disk   Full version with graphics

Roasted little chickens (birds) with sauce

This recipe is in categories Normans / Medieval, Main courses,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 3

This dish is taken from the Bayeux tapestry which depicts small birds being spit roasted. Several birds are roasted on each spit. Many different kinds of birds were eaten, even songbirds.

The original recipe for spit-roasted birds:
"Take and pull him dry, Kutte away his hede and the necke by the body, and the legges by the kne, and putte the kneys in at the vente, and roste him."

For pictures of the cooking process see our Roasted Little Birds Pictures.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast.

 For the sauce:

Making and cooking it
  1. Rub the fat well over the skin of the birds
  2. Rub in a little salt and pepper if desired
  3. Slide the birds onto your metal spit
  4. Set by the fire, turning and basting often
For the sauce:
  1. Set a pot by the fire to warm. Once warm add the vinegar to the pot
  2. Peel the top layer of skin off the lemon and add to the vinegar in a pan (Try to put in as little white pith as possible or it will be bitter)
  3. Add the juice of the lemon and the spices
  4. Warm through to allow the flavours to mingle
  5. Spoon over the hot birds and serve