Having a little bit of time on hand, I decided I wanted to try something new…again. I haven’t done a lot of Roman lately so back to Rome for their tasty pork recipes. I am going to suggest either a good ciabatta type of bread or jasmine rice to help sop up the very rich sauce.
Ius in Aprum Elixum: Sauce for Boiled Boar
Pepper, lovage, cumin, silphium, oregano, pine nuts date, honey, mustard, vinegar, liquamen, and oil. (Apicius, pp. 263/translated by Cocock $ Grainger)
2 lbs. pork butt
1 ts.p ground cumin and ground pepper
2 Tbs. fresh chopped oregano
2 C. sweet red wine
1 C. pitted and chopped dates
1 Tsp mustard (stone ground or Dijon)
1/3 C. balsamic vinegar
1/2 C. olive oil
1/2 C. honey
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
This recipe is for a much gamier cut of pork than we have available in the stores today. Our normal pork butt or shoulder is a bit fattier and tender then period cuts of boar would be.
I choice not to boil the meat but I did decide to use a slow cooker for this recipe. (My oven being broken the biggest reason).
If this were to be done in period, the meat could be slow cooked in the ingredients or roast the meat and combine the ingredients to make a sauce to be cooked down in which the meat can be dipped into. As in Rome, mix it up! No recipe was ever written in stone in Rome. The could make a sonnet recipe into an epic cookbook or a cookbook into three lines. Enjoy playing with this even if nothing more then making the sauce to dip pork chops into.
Gather all the ingredients together.
Throw everything but the oregano (the green stuff) and the dates into the crock pot or what ever pot you are cooking with. Pit the dates. Then chop the oregano and dates roughly.
Throw these into the crock pot, then added the 2 lbs. of pork butt.
As usual the mixing and stirring doesn’t look like much. Give the dish a few hours until the pork is fork tender. Then you’ll be doing nothing but licking your lips.
The sauce will be nice nice and thick after a few hours. If you want to make sauce even thicker, take the meat from the crock pot and put aside. Remember it’s fork tender so treat it gently. Then pour the sauce into another pot and slowly simmer till reduced by 40%. You want to balance a good dipping/soaking sauce with butter knife cutting sludge.
There wasn’t a lot of leftovers, but the little that remained was wrapped in home made tortillas (any fried flat bread will do) and consumed the next morning. Still fork tender and rich in flavor.