I'm sure that many of you will think I've gone nuts. Wild Boar and chocolate...?!? I know, it does sound a bit odd. However, true chocolate lovers (and conoisseurs) will understand me when I say that the combination genuinely works and will realise that it's a fantastic match. And it's a dish to impress your guests!
Not sure whether this is my chocolate period (il tempo della cioccolata) considering that I have never thought of myself as a chocolate gourmand. Not like my friend A. who could buy a bag of Brazil nuts coated in chocolate and devoured them in less than 5 minutes...not sure how she does!
I must recognise though that chocolate, if dark though (and not that one with nuts, raisins, milk as Brits are used to), has unexpected wonders. A. will be interested in this part...
lowers blood pressure
lowers LDL cholesterol
stimulates endorphins giving a feeling of pleasure
anti depressant as it contains serotonin
stimulates attention being rich in theobromine
I doubt you can still resist to chocolate now...more recipes will follow! For the moment I give you this one that comes from the Medici Family in Renaissance Florence. So I thought of adding a few snaps I took in Florence (where I was hunting for a leather jacket).
If you go to Florence I would make sure of not missing to have aperitif at Finisterrae in via dei Pepi, dinner at Zaza' in via della Stufa (on the other side of the Arno), and a snack with panino & lardo di colonnata (an indescribable cold meat made of pork fat cured with salt, pepper and herbs out of this world) at I Fratellini in via dei Cimatori just off via del Corso. And of course tea and chocolate (to take away) at Cafe' Rivoire in piazza della Signoria!
Below is the recipe. Please don't be freaked out by the long list of ingredients, they are all easily available and reasonably cheap!
For 4 people
1kg wild boar (or venison or beef) cut into 5cm cubes
90g dark chocolate
0.6dl olive oil
1 medium onion
1 big carrot
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1,8 dl red wine
6dl white wine vinegar
2.5 dl meat stock
0.6dl grappa (or schnapp)
4 tbsp walnuts
2 tbsp raisins
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp candied lemon rind
2 tbsp sugar
salt and black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a shallow but large pan. Chop the onion, carrot, celery, onion and parsley to the oil and cook for 10 minutes tossing often until they are soft and lightly pan fried.
2. Add the meat and cook it quickly for a few minutes. Add the salt, the spices and bay leaves. Pour the wine and cook for 5 minutes. The wine will evaporate. Add the vinegar and let it evaporate too.
3. Add the stock and cover to let it simmer for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add more stock if you think that the sauce is too thick or is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Melt at baigne-marie the chocolate. Add to it the grappa, walnuts, raisins, pine nuts and candied lemon rinds, and the sugar. Mix well and remove from the heat.
5. Remove the meat from the pan and place it in a plate. Remove the excessive fat from the pan.
6. Add to the chocolate a few tbsp of the cooking broth and add it to the meat which you will have placed back again in the pan.
7. Simmer everything again for a further 3minutes.
You can serve it with roasted potatoes (without any herbs) or just a plain mixed salad. My mother would probably serve it with polenta as she loves it and comforts her in winter....I frankly cannot stand it so I won't...