RAVENNA: HONEY & SPICE BEEF (VI sec)

This is one of my favourite recipes of Anthimus, one of the view with details. I find it extremely modern.

He is trying to blend the taste of the franks with mediterranean dietary principles. What comes out is an extraordinary example of how fusion food (or what for the time could have been fusion food) is a culinary advancement.

As usual, Anthimus is not very precise with quantities and the process, so you have to read and read and then add your spark.

IN PRACTICE:

This is how I made it. You can find below the original recipe in latin and english, and do it your way:

  • In a large pan, I sauted 6 chopped leaks with celery.
  • I seared 500g of chopped meat. I asked for a cut which has some fat, good for loong cooking and casserole.
  • I doused with half glass of wine mixed with a quarter of glass of vinagre, covered with water and let cook at very low flame for 1h.

Meanwhile, I was grinding a teaspoon of black pepper and half teaspoon of cloves. I mixed with ¼  cup of minced lemongrass, ¼ cup minced mint, ½  teaspoon of levander flowers. I warmed it at very low flame for 15 minutes with one cup of wine and half cup of honey.

I served the meat with sauted carrots and millet bread.

ORIGINAL RECIPE (From Anthimus, De observacionem ciborum, VI cent.)

De carnibus uero uaccinis uaporatas factas et in sodinga coctas utendum, etiam et in iuscello, ut prius expromatas una unda mittat, et sic in nitida aqua, quantum ratio poscit, coquantur, ut non addatur aqua, et cum cocta fuerit caro, mittis acetum acerrimum quantum media bucula, et mittis capita porrorum et puledium modicum, apii radicis, uel finiculum, et coquat in una hora, et sic addis mel quantum medietatem de aceto uel quis dulcedinem habere uoluerit, et sic coquat lento foco agetando ipsa olla frequenter manibus, et bene ius cum carne ipsa temperetur, et sic teri: piper grana L, costo et spicanardi per singula quantum medietatem solidi, et cariofili quantum pinsat tremissis I. ista omnia simul trita bene in mortario fictile addito uino modico, et cum bene tribulatum fuerit, mittis in olla et agetas bene ita, ut, antequam tollatur de foco, modicum sentiat et remittat in ius uirtutem suam. Ubi tamen fuerit mel aut sapa uel carenum, unum de ipsis, sicut superius contenit, mittatur, et in bucculare non coquat, sed in olla fictile meliorem saporem facit.

TRANSLATION (from the author of this blog)

In truth, the cow meat is to be used stewed and cooked in a saucepan, with a sauce. As soon as it is taken should be washed under running water, and so it should be boiled in clean water in the right quantity, so as not to have to add more water. . And when the meat is cooked, add half a bucula of strong vinegar, and add the leek heads and a little mint, celery or fennel and cook for an hour. And then add as much honey as half the amount of vinegar or more depending on how sweet you want it to be, and then cook over low flame, stirring the pot often so the sauce blends well with the meat. For this, crush: 50 grains of pepper, the right amount according to your taste of costos (you can replace it with lemongrass *), spicanarda (lavender), and crushed cloves. Chop well in an earthenware mortar adding a little wine, when it is well chopped, put it in a pot and mix well so that before removing it from the heat it warms up a little and lets its essence come out. When you have honey, or sapa (cooked must *) or cooked wine available, one of these, as mentioned above, add it and if you don’t cook it in a buccular pan, but in an earthenware pot, it will taste better.

ITALIAN TRANSLATION (from the author of this blog)

In veritá, la carne di mucca da usare stufata e cotta in una casseruola, con un sughetto, appena tirata fuori va lavata sotto l’acqua corrente, e cosí  va bollita in acqua pulita nella giusta quantitá, in modo da non dover aggiungere altra acqua. E quando la carne è cotta, aggiungere mezza bucula di aceto forte,  e aggiungere le teste di porro e un po ‘di menta, sedano o finocchio e cuoci per un’ora. E poi aggiungi tanto miele quanto metà della quantità di aceto o di piu’ a seconda di quanto vuoi che sia dolce, e poi cuoci a fuoco basso, mescolando spesso la pentola e la salsa si amalgama bene con la carne. Per questo schiaccia: 50 grani di pepe, la giusta quantitá secondo il tuo gusto di costos (si puo’ sostituire con citronella*), spicanarda (lavanda), e chiodi di garofano pestati. Trita bene  in un mortaio di terracotta aggiungendo un po’ di vino, quando sarà ben tritato, mettilo in una pentola e mescola bene in modo che prima di toglierlo dal fuoco si scaldi un po’ e lasci uscire la sua essenza. Quando tutta via hai a disposizione miele, o sapa (mosto cotto*) o vino cotto, uno di questi, come detto sopra, aggiungilo e se non lo cuoci in un tegame bucculare, ma in una pentola di terracotta, avrà un sapore migliore.

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