[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
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An aspiring Luddite
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[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook or Livejournal. (Although he did succumb to the lure of Google+.) He hates cell-phones.

Recipes: 16 February 2017
Updates ... sometimes
16 February 2017

As noted over here, I'm on the hook to do a feast in Ireland in a couple of months, and while I could simply use recipes I've used before or recipes which are relatively straightforward, it's more fun to do at least one or two new and interesting ones. Iusshel looks simple, but presents a few interesting features. The recipe appears, with some variations, in a variety of medieval recipe collections. The version I am using is this one:

Iusshell. Take brede ygrated and ayren and swyng it togydre. Do þerto safroun, sawge, and salt, & cas t broth þerto, and boile it & messe it forth.
- Hieatt and Butler, Curye on Inglysch, p.107, #44.

As discussed in the article linked above, there are a number of possible interpretations of the recipe. They all suggest that the end product is curded or curdled, as one would expect from simmering eggs. The more I looked at it, the more it looked to me like an eggy dumpling. Since dumplings rather than a more soupy result works better for my purposes, I decided to work with that idea. It then occurred to me that the recipe looks a lot like the one I use to make matzoh balls. With that realization, the recipe fell into place.

For the base, I chose to use dried bread crumbs. This is because without being fairly dry, bread is difficult to grate effectively, as called for in the recipe. As is my wont when cooking for large numbers of people, I will probably omit the saffron, since it's so expensive. [Lots of pictures]


  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • a few leaves of sage
  • broth or salted water
  • a few strands of saffron, if you are so inclined
Lightly beat the egg. Cut the sage leaves finely, and add them, the salt, and the bread crumbs. (If using saffron, add it as well.) Mix well and squish the mess together to make sure it holds its shape. Letting it sit a few minutes may help.

Bring your broth or salted water to a simmer. Take a bit of the bread mixture and make a smallish ball. You should be able to get at least 8 balls out of this recipe. The picture at the top shows the size of the ball pre- and post-cooking. Carefully place the dumpling into the liquid and simmer for five minutes or so, long enough for the dumpling to cook all the way through. During this process, it will absorb quite a bit of the liquid - bear this is mind when you are seasoning the dumpling and the cooking liquid. Overly salty water, for instance, will result in a very salty iusshell.

Serve the dumplings either alone or with some of the broth. "With broth" is more accurate, but they are good on their own. If you are not worried about authenticity, you can vary the herbs to good effect. Dill works very well in this recipe, for instance.

© 2017 Jeff Berry

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