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Roman recipes
Thrion ex Oryza
(Goat's cheese with rice in vine leaves)

Thrion ex Oryza (Goat's cheese with rice in vine leaves)

from an ancient commentator on Aristophanes Knights

Yeah, go ahead and click here to buy this book!
Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens.

Yes, this book has a new cover, but I like this one better. Blah, I am so horrible.
AFAIK, this recipe comes from Grant and was inserted by original site author (I will say again to PLEASE buy these author's books! By doing so, you will help support them — even for books that are older and might not sell as well anymore... These authors do not do this for money, they do it for love. Please support them!

This recipe really resembles a modern Greek dolma. The Romans didn't have sugar, tomatoes, or peppers, but the resemblance and taste of thrion to a classic, vegetarian dolma is striking. Grant (yep, Victius did it to me again ) extracted the recipe from an ancient commentator on Aristophanes Knights. (Thrion, by the way, means fig, as the filling was originally wrapped in fig leaves, not grape leaves. Maybe you can find fig leaves, vs. grape leaves to try this). Anyway gentle reader, rice was not common in the Empire, but according to Grant (I do have his book, I just don't feel comfortable with all of this coming from his book (for all I know, Victius got his permission?!) rice is only mentioned once by Apicius, but "in the context in which it appears suggest it was a familiar ingriedient." Grant also makes the case that it "cannot have been a particularly luxrious item."

Original recipe:

Translation: Thrion is wheat Groats or rice or finest wheat flour boiled in sufficient quantities. Then pour off the water and knead the mixture with soft cheese and a few eggs. Then it is enclosed with fig leaves and tied up with hemp or papyrus or flax and placed in a stock of boiled meat until it has been sufficiently cooked. Then take out, remove the leaves, put in a new frying pan with fresh honey and cook. Turn it until it is properly done and is brown. Removing and serve with honey poured around it, either from the boiled honey or another lot of honey. It is called thrion because of the Fig leaves which are called by the same name.


  • 100g/3 oz basmati (preferably) rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 100g/3 oz goat's cheese
  • 20-25 vine leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 60 ml/2floz honey
  • Sea salt


  • Fry the rice in the olive oil for two minutes stirringto ensure the rice does not burn
  • Add 1 pint of boiling water, season with salt, turn down the heat and simmer gently with the lid on until the rice has spread and is soft and the rice has taken in all the water
  • Remove the pan from the flame.
  • Finely dice the cheese and beat the egg and mix thees in with the rice.
  • Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and lay it on the bottom third of a vine leaf.
  • Bring the bottom part of the leaf over the mixture. Fold the sides of the leaf over and then roll the mixture up to the top of the leaf to make a neat bundle. Repeat the process until all the rice has been used. Place the bundles in a pyrex dish.
  • Dissolve the stock cube in half a pint of boiling water and pour over the bundles. Put the covered dish in the oven at 170°c/330°f/gas mark 3 for one hour.
  • Pour the honey into a largish frying pan. and heat the honey. When it is hot transfer the parcels from the dish to the frying pan. Turn them until the bundles are coated with the honey.
  • Remove the bundless and serve.
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