Apicius' Wild Boar Sauce
1 pound ground wild boar
herbs de provence
almonds or pine nuts
red wine vinegar
1) Gather all your ingredients together.
2) Add a healthy quarter cup or so of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. The boar I had was quite lean, but if your boar is fatty, you might need less oil. Also, I have a heavy hand with the olive oil ... because it is delicious.
3) Add the almonds or pine nuts. Apicius says that either are good for the dish.
4) When these have started to turn a beautiful golden brown ...
5) Add the boar, stir and brown the boar all over.
6) After meat has browned, add herbs and spices. Apicius specifies cumin. He also specifies mint, thyme, savory, celery seed, and flower of thistle. Now, fresh herbs aren't so available now and are pricey. But a good herbs de provence mix has mint, thyme, savory, and lavender flowers. So, I recommend subbing this mix and some fresh parsley. And grind in pepper as well.
7) Add red wine vinegar. This dish wants alot of vinegar. It tenderizes the tough meat, it tastes good, and it combines with the honey to make the sweet-and-sour flavor so predominant in Apicius' cooking. So, really you will need about a cup. I admit this is alot of vinegar for one pound of meat. If you do not believe me, try adding it in smaller amounts and you will keep adding it to get it to taste right until you realize you have put in about a cup.
8) Then add about a cup of wine. I prefer my cooking wine to come from a giant plastic bag.
9) Cook until all virtually all the liquid has evaporated. The longer you can cook this the better. Adding extra wine and giving it a couple hours to cook would be a very smart and delicious move. Then add a couple tablespoons of honey. Basically you need to add enough honey to offset the amount of vinegar you added so they combine to make their delicious combination.
10) Stir in the honey and taste. Add whatever you need (honey, vinegar, salt, cumin) to get the balance right.
11) Now, what to do with? I tried it on spread on crusty bread and it was delicious! Then, I added cubed bread to the mixture and made a stuffing and used that to stuff a chicken, which I then baked. I added some currents to the mix to make it a better poultry stuffing. It was really good, and I felt that Apicius would have approved of stuffing a chicken with boar! It definitely fits into the concept of hiding animals inside of others that we see in Apicius and Petronius. You could also make this into a pasta sauce with some tomatoes ... but since the ancients did not eat pasta or tomatoes you would no longer be cooking Ancient Foods Today!
Now, go eat some wild boar! Enjoy!