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Viking Age meat and fish dishes

Cooked cod with butter and mustard

For 4 people you need:

  • 1 kg cod
  • water
  • butter
  • mustard

Clean the cod. If you do not have a cooking pot large enough for a whole fick it can be cut into thick slices. Place the fish in boiling, lightly salted water - the water should taste as salty as sea water. Let the water boil again then remove the pot from the heat. Leave the pot with the cod for about 10 minutes, then it is ready to be served with rye bread, mustard and melted butter.

Boiled wheat kernels with meat  and herbs

  • 1 litre water
  • 4-5 dl wheat corns
  • 500 g meat
  • a few slices of chopped smoked pork or bacon
  • herbs (same as for the meat soup)
  • maybe champignons and onion
  • salt

Soak the wheat kernels for about 12 hours. Then rinse them carefully before they are boiled with the meat and chopped pork. Add the other ingredients gradually. Cook until the meat and wheat kernels are tender. Pick up the meat and  split into small chunks, then put them back in the pot. Flavor with salt.

Spit frying

When spit frying the ember pyre does not have to be entirely burned down - a small ember pyre with small clear flames is suitable. The spit should go through the meat and rest of forked branches on either side of the pyre, so it might be rotated.

A hen should be fried for 1.5 - 2 hours and is ready when the skin is nicely light brown. You can check if the hen is ready by prodding it in the leg. If a clear liquid comes out it is ready.

Larger chunks of meat can be fried in the same way. The meat should be rubbed with salt before being fried. Smaller chunks of meat can be fried on unbarked sharpened sticks.

Cooking in clay

Cooking in clay requires a really good ember pyre. Eggs, fish and poultry can be cooked in clay.

Eggs
Cover the egg in clay in a layer at most 1 cm thick. Poke a few holes in the clay. Place the egg on the embers and cover it. Cook for about 12 minutes.

Fish
Slice and clean the fish. Tie it together and cover package it in clay. With good heat cook for about 30 minutes.

Poultry
Cut off the wings and pluck off all larger feathers. Remove the intestines and place a hot rock inside the bird, then sew it closed. Pack the whole bird into clay and place it in the ember pyre. Try to cover the package as much as possible in embers - if not possible it needs to be rotated every now and then. After about an hour (the clay should crack) the bird is cooked. To remove the clay you can hit it carefully against a rock. The feathers are now stuck in the clay which leaves the bird plucked. If the bird is plucked before being cooked the skin can easily get stuck in the clay instead.

Fish in cooking pit

  • fish
  • rocks
  • bark or large leaves
  • grass straws or birch roots
  • grass turfs

Preparations

· Dig an about 50 x 50 cm large pit. It should be about 30-40 cm deep. Take care with the grass turfs, they will be used as a lid.

· Heat rocks on a fireplace next to the pit. Use rocks about 15 cm in diameter. Never use flint stones as they may explode from the heat. While the stones are heated the food is prepared.

Cooking
  • Wrap the fish in a large bit of bark or large leaves of some kind. Tie the package together with grass straws or birch roots. Also put grass in the ends of the package to prevent any soil from getting in. If you want to cheat you can put the the fish in foil.
  • Put a layer of heated rocks in the bottom of the pit. Use wooden sticks to roll over the rocks.
  • Put the fish in the pit and place several heated rocks around the package. When the pit is filled with rocks put the grass turfs back on top, or shovel some soil over it, to prevent the heat from escaping the pit.
  • After about 45 minutes the fish is ready. Keep in mind that the rocks may still be warm when you pick them up.
  • Meat can also be cooked in this manner. 1 kg meat takes about 1.5 hours.

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