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Hypocras Onions: A Spirited Onion Dish

Hypocras Onions
Hypocras Onions
I finally got the nerve and organization together to enter a cooking contest. Spoiler: I didn't win, but I'm happy with the recipe (and the judges loved the juice, they just wanted the onions to have marinated for longer than one day so that the flavors were married) and proud that I took an opportunity to stretch out of my comfort zone.

The contest ingredient was onions and the time frame was Middle Ages. I wanted to do something along the line of pickled onions, but not pickled onions. I decided on onions in wine. I started with a pickled onion recipe and then made some changes, then more changes, and then even more changes.

As I was playing with ideas, I started thinking about hypocras. Hypocras dates back to at least the 14th century; it is a wine that is spiced after fermentation with things like black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and such. The spices and sweeteners were steeped in the wine for a day or more to flavor the wine and then filtered out.

The Forme of Cury includes: To make Ypocrasse for lords with gynger, synamon, and graynes sugour, and turefoll: and for comyn pepull gynger canell, longe peper, and claryffyed hony. Loke ye have feyre pewter basens to kepe in your pouders and your ypocrasse to ren ynne.

To me hypocras has always been a symbol of medieval tastes, because I just wont have thought of adding pepper to wine.

In this recipe Ive alluded to the flavor of a red wine hippocras by adding cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and honey to the wine I chose to go with the onions.

I chose Shariz (aka Syrah) as it was available at a decent price, was full bodied enough to stand up to the onions and spices, and was probably typical of period wines.

I hope you enjoy my spirited onions!

Bibliography: Pegge, Samuel. The Forme of Cury, a Roll of Ancient English Cookery. Compiled, about A.D. 1390, by the Master-Cooks of King RICHARD II. (Documents hypocras, wine, cinnamon, ginger, honey, pepper, and onions)

-=-Debbie Hypocras Onions: A Spirited Onion Dish


    1 large, or 2 small to medium, sweet (or Maui) onions, sliced thin
    2 cups Charles Shaw Shiraz
    2 teaspoon honey
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Put all ingredients in a covered saucepan.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir as needed.

Refrigerate at least 2 days to let the onions marinate.

Serve hot or cold. It tastes great with rye or pumpernickel bread, or serve with pork loin or lamb, or whatever makes you happy!

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