15th Century Beef Soup

Note on the photo: I made this dish for a mundane dinner, served with flaky buttermilk biscuits.

From Platina, De honesta voluptate

Potage from Meat

As translated by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, from Cariadoc’s Miscellany

Take lean meat and let it boil, then cut it up finely and cook it again for half an hour in rich juice, having first added bread crumbs. Add a little pepper and saffron.

When it has cooled a little, add beaten eggs, grated cheese, parsley, marjoram, finely chopped mint with a little verjuice. Blend them all together in a pot, stirring them slowly with a spoon so that they do not form a ball. The same may be done with livers and lungs.


For this redaction, I made beef broth from bones left over from grinding meat for sausages. I simmered the bones then recovered the meaty bits in the soup.

6 c. beef broth with meat
1/2 tsp saffron (ground)
1 onion, chopped and sweated
1 inch stick of cinnamon
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp ground marjoram
1 cup shredded parmesean cheese
6 eggs at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
cider vinegar (or verjuice) — see note

Simmer the broth, saffron, onion, cinnamon, pepper, marjoram and breadcrumbs together until the flavors blend. Mix the eggs with the cheese. Slowly add about two cups hot broth to the eggs, then combine the egg mixture with the rest of the broth. Add salt and more pepper to taste.

Note: The verjuice adds a nice complexity to the final dish that’s not appreciated by younger diners. To keep this kid-friendly, omit the cider vinegar or verjuice, and instead add about 1/2 tablespoon to bowls for adult diners.

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