Malmenye is something I got introduced to many years ago in the SCA, at the first event where I helped in the kitchen. I’d never heard of it then, but it made quite the impression — shredded chicken napped in a rich wine sauce, studded with pine nuts and raisins. And if that wasn’t good enough, it was then put in honey-brushed pie crusts and baked off. Amazing stuff.

When I inquired as to the recipe, I got told that it was in Take A Thousand Eggs or More, by Cindy Renfrow. Aha! thought I — I have those books. It turned out that it was in the second book, which is the one with the translations, but no redactions. Since it’s been over fifteen years and I couldn’t remember exactly how it got made, I ended up re-redacting it myself. And since I loved the recipe, but didn’t want to deal with a million dishes, I took a shortcut, and made it in the crockpot. This is actually a mix of several malmenye recipes; one’s specifically a capon recipe, the others are pottages (think of a pottage as a soft cereal dish, kind of like oatmeal).

Crockpot Malmenye Furnez

  • 1 chicken, skinned and cut into 8-10 pieces (I did 10 — the breasts were huge)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (this is in none of the original recipes; it’s my own addition, because I felt the dish was too sweet otherwise)
  • 1 c. almond milk (find this at your local health-food store)
  • 1 c. good red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. poudrefort or poudredouce
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4-1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3 oz. pine nuts (1 small package)
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. rice flour
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Combine everything except the salt and pepper in a large crock pot. Mix well. The dish will be scary pink right now because of the red wine and red wine vinegar. Do not fret; it will turn a lovely brown color as it cooks. Cook on low 5-6 hours, until the chicken is done and falling-off-the-bone tender. Remove the chicken from the crockpot, shred well, and return it to the rest of the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

You can serve it as-is, or serve it in a pie crust. To serve in a pie crust, brush the bottom crust with honey, add the malmenye, cover with a second pie crust, crimp, and bake at 350° until the pie crust is golden. (I’ll admit, I haven’t baked the current batch in a crust — it’s good just plain or over rice.)

You may find that the sauce is not thick enough for your liking; the rice flour clumped in mine because I didn’t stir well enough. If that happens, remove the shredded chicken and sauce from the crockpot and put it in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry of equal parts cornstarch and water, and add it to the sauce 1 Tbsp. at a time, allowing it to return to a boil (that’s when the thickening occurs) before you add more.

Easy and delicious. Give it a try — you’ll like it. (: