Suffritto de Pollastri

Soffritto of Chicken

This recipe is a precursor to the modern Italian Soffritto, a slow frying technique in cooking mirrored in many European cultures (Mirepoix in France, Refogado  in Portugal, Sofrito in Spain, Suppengrün in Germany and Włoszczyzna in Poland).

Source: Libro de arte coquinaria by Maestro Martino de Como, 15th century

Original Recipe:

Suffritto de Pollastri

In prima nectali molto bene e tagliali in quarto, o vero in pezzi piccholi, et poneli in una pignatta a frigere con buono lardo voltando spesse volte col cochiaro. Et quando la carne è quasi cotta getta fore la maiore parte del grasso de la pignatta. Et dapoi togli de bono agresto, doi rosci d’ova, un pocho pocho de bono brodo et de bone spetie, et meschole queste cose inseme con tanto zafrano che siano gialle et ponile in la dicta pignatta inseme co la carne et lascial bollire anchora un pocho tanto che tutte queste cose ti parano cotte. Dapoi togli un pocho pocho de petrosillo battuto menuto et ponilo insieme col ditto soffritto in un piattello et mandalo ad tavola. Et questo tale soffritto vole essere dolce o agro secundo il gusto comuno o del patrone.

Translation: (from The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book)

Soffritto of Chicken

First clean and quarter them [chickens], or cut into small pieces, and put it in a pan to fry with some good salted pork fat turning often with a spoon. And when the meat is almost cooked discard most of the fat in the pan. And then take some good verjuice, two egg yolks, a little stock and some good spice, and mix all these with enough saffron to make it yellow and put it in the pan with the meat and let it boil a little until it you think it is cooked. Then take a small amount of finely chopped parsley and add it to the suffrito and turn it into a dish and serve. And this suffritto can be sweet or sour according to the common taste or to the taste of your master.

My Interpretation:

1 whole cut up fryer or 8 pieces of chicken
½ tsp. powdered ginger
2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil ½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ cup verjuice
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 egg yolks Pinch saffron
¼ cup chicken stock
Chopped parsley
½ tsp. ground pepper

Heat oil in pan over medium low heat and brown chicken. Meanwhile combine verjuice, eggs and chicken stock in a bowl and whisk together. When the chicken is nearly cooked add egg mixture and spices. Place chicken on serving dish with sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


For large quantities of chicken, consider lightly coating the chicken with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Place the chicken into a baking dish and bake at 375ºF for about 45 minutes. To make the sauce, combine verjuice, eggs and chicken stock in a bowl and whisk together. Then heat oil in pan over medium heat add egg mixture and spices. Stir the sauce constantly until it will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Place chicken on serving dish with sauce on the side and sprinkle sauce with chopped parsley.

Works Referenced:
Libro de arte coquinaria, Maestro Martino de Como, Digital version: Valeria Romanelli, 7/2004.

The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book, Translated by Luigi Ballerini, Jeremy Parzen, Stefania Barzini, University of California Press, 2005
- A translation of the work of Maestro Martino of Como, 15th century

"Mirepoix (cuisine)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <>.

Gauthier, Frank. "HOW TO COOK ITALIAN: THE FIRST SECRET REVEALED." HubPages. HubPages, 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <>.