Rice might be commonplace today, but once it was an expensive import found only on the tables of kings. This dish – unlike its modern cousin – is unsweetened and cooked with beef broth
Cookery writer Dorothy Hartley wrote in Food in England (1954) that “East End women make a rice pudding using broth … when cooked it is finished under the joint of Mutton.” This is very similar to the “Ryse of Flesh” recipe found in The Forme of Cury (1390):
Take Ryse and waishe hem clene. And do hem in erthen pot with gode broth and lat hem seeþ wel. Afterward take Almaund mylke and do þer to. And colour it wiþ safroun an salt, an messe forth.
Anje who runs Kitchen History writes: This recipe comes from a book called Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, which was published in 1888. This book contains recipes which were copied from manuscripts in the British Museum, so even though the recipes come from a book published in the late nineteenth century, they are still written in Middle English. This recipe for “Rys” is taken from the manuscript Harleian MS. 279. I’ve seen dates ranging from circa 1420 to 1439, so I just went with the earliest one.