December 4, 2009

Braum Brose: Medieval Vegetable Broth from Ireland

In Ireland, Andy and I went to a Medieval style banquet at a real castle. It was the first castle I had ever seen or been in. Ascending the cold stone spiral staircase was fun but inviting. Everyone was cheerful and there were costumed ladies pressing mead into the hands of the unsuspecting visitors at the top. I naively didn't know what it was and, when told, handed it back instantaneously. The next room had real Medieval tapestries, furniture from Medieval times and costumed performers playing the harp and the fiddle and proposing toasts to the king.

Dinner was held in a banquet room, down the stairs. There were many long heavy wooden tables and benches for us as well as glazed clay plates, bowls and cups. There was no silverware.

In Medieval times, small knives were frequently brought to banquets by the diners to do the work that both the knife and the fork do today, anything eaten with a metal spoon today was drank straight out of a cup or bowl or less commonly, eaten with a wooden or horn spoon. Two-pronged forks were used for cooking but forks for diners did not come into popularity in  Western Europe until the 14th century, starting in Italy.     

At our banquet, vegetable broth (Braum Brose,) chicken, potatoes, honey-glazed ribs and a dessert that couples had to feed to each other was served. The whole experience was not as hokey as we thought it would be. When we saw it on the itinerary, we imagined a "Dixie Stampede" style dinner with bad food and entertainment, geared toward little kids. However, It was a lovely atmosphere with good performers and relatively good food. We especially loved the Braum Brose, which was not quite like any broth we had ever had before. Andy asked the waiter what it was and we searched frantically for a recipe for it when we got home but nothing came up for it. We did a lot of research and ended up recreating it exactly, we were most pleased! Even though we have the food, we would recommend seeing the performance, it was very worthwhile, just disregard the zippers on the performers outfits and you will have a delightful night!

Our Recipe for Medieval, Irish, Braum Brose:


2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Parsnips (peeled and diced)
1 Onion (peeled and diced)
1 Potato  (peeled and diced)
1 Clove Garlic (crushed or minced)
1 teaspoon Curry Powder (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1-2 sprigs of Parsley (chopped fine) 
4 cups of hot vegetable broth (cans or cubes)
1/4 cup of Light Cream
2 or 3 dashes of White Pepper

Peel and dice the parsnips, potato and onion. Melt the butter in a large pot, add the parsnips, potato and onion. Cook covered over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, parsley, curry and cumin and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the hot vegetable stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth, and return to pot and add the pepper and the cream. Do not allow the soup to boil after the cream is added. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipes for Honey-Glazed Ribs similar to those served at the banquet:
Pork Ribs with Honey
Restaurant Recipes: Pork Ribs

Other Medieval Recipes and Cooking Resources:
Medieval Recipes
Medieval Cookery
Medieval and Renaissance Food
Medieval Cooking Recipes ( A good collection that covers food from all over the world.)

 *Note: Andy took the lovely photo, second from the top. He is also in the picture on the right, enjoying the soup.

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