Midday: A Recipe from Shakespeare's England



‘Pears’ in Broth

from Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Francine Segan

Serves 6


Renaissance chefs enjoyed delighting guests with amusing culinary tricks. They would sculpt all sorts of shapes using meat, marzipan, and dough, and even go so far as to hide live birds in a pie so that when the pie was cut into the birds would fly out. The rhyme “four and twenty blackbirds” was true!


Here meatballs are shaped like tiny pears. There is also an added surprise inside—each meatball is filled with a grape, which adds a great fresh taste and nice crunch. Add some ready-made canned stock and you have a simply delicious, simple Renaissance feast!


8 ounces ground veal or pork

1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 small green seedless grapes

12 sage or parsley leaves, with stems

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock, warm


1. Combine the veal, breadcrumbs, egg, thyme, parsley, and salt in a bowl. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions. Wrap each portion of meat around a grape and form a pear shape.


2. Preheat the broiler. Place the pears upright on a well-greased pan, and broil 4 to 5 inches from the flame for 4 minutes, or until done. Using a toothpick, gently embed a sage leaf into the top of each pear.


3. Place 2 “pears” in each serving bowl and gently top with the warm stock. Serve.

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