Lucy Worsley's 12 Days of Tudor Christmas


Lucy Worsley Helps Prepare Classic Tudor Recipes

Lucy Worsley visits Hampton Court’s kitchens with Food Historian Annie Gray. They learn how to make classic Tudor recipes like mince pies and assist with the roasting of a Christmas venison.

AIRED: December 25, 2019 | 0:03:04

(Renaissance-style music)

- Oh, what's going, what's going on,

what's going on here?

Hampton Court's kitchens are still in use

500 years later, so I've enlisted some of the palace cooks

together with food historian Annie Gray

to make some Tudor recipes.

Pies are prominent on the menu,

including mince pies.

Back then, they weren't sweet little snacks.

They were the stars of the savory course.

Okay, what's going on here at the chopping board?

- I'm mincing up some suet.

- Mincing, is that more extreme than chopping?

- It's where mince pies get their name from,

the act of mincing.

So everything that goes into this needs to be minced

very, very finely, or shredded.

They were also known as shred pies.

- And what's this white stuff that you're mincing?

- This is suet.

It's the kidney fat, in this case, from sheep.

- You would not want to eat that in its raw state,

would you?

- Sure, wanna try it?


Unlike the stuff that you can get today,

you got to strip all the veins, and the membranes out,

and mince it yourself.

- [Lucy] And then we've got our spices.

(Renaissance-style music)

Ingredients from as far afield as China and India

were shipped to England during Henry's reign

at great expense.

The royal kitchens routinely turned to exotic spices

like these peppery seeds from West Africa.

- You've got Grains of Paradise here,

then you've got cubeb pepper, another type of pepper,

very fruity.

- [Lucy] What is it come from?

- [Cook] Java.

- [Lucy] Mmm.

- Today they always have fruit in,

and the same is true in the Tudor period,

so we've got raisins, we've got currants,

we've got dried prunes, all things you can get

during the winter.

And we've also got the crucial ingredient here

which is beef.

The period before that demarcation that we've got

between sweet and savory, and meat and dessert,

is really, fully developed.

- [Lucy] Yes.

- [Cook] Squidge.

- [Lucy] Squidge.

- [Cook] Get that squidging through them fingers.

- Ooh, that's disgusting!

(Lucy and Annie laughing)

It's meat.

I'm squeezing meat.

- [Annie] But if you eat meat normally, then--

- I don't squeeze it, though.

I eat it; I don't squeeze it.

(Renaissance-style music)

The wealthier you were, the more meat would feature

on your table.

So the king's Christmas dinner must also include

a choice of roasts.

- You can see that there are three lumps of gorgeous beef

on the fire already being turned.

Beef was another real Christmas favorite,

and in fact, was the Christmas meat

through much of history.

So we're going to have this venison join it.

It's a really big haunch.

And it's perfect for King Henry VII's feast

because he had the deer herd, as did most aristocrats.

It was all about showing off wealth.

- Mmm, look at that.

The sweaty job of hand-turning the spit

was usually given to young boys.

I think I've got the hang of it.

Keep turning, keep turning.

(Renaissance-style music)