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FRIPTURĂ ARDELENEASCĂ DE MISTREŢ (BRAISED BOAR)

For the first time since embarking on our world tour I asked Cosmin to choose a dish to prepare, what with him being Romanian and all. He flicked through the seven Romanian cookbooks I picked up on our last trip out there and found a recipe that a. he hadn’t tried before, b. was three (three!) pages long, c. had no accompanying photo and d. required 1kg of boar. The bastard. We have been trying to ‘visit’ a country every weekend, but it was almost a month between Moldova and Romania; I kept on making excuses for the delay, but honestly it was because I was dreading this.

The Romanian’s like to hunt and it is not that difficult to find relatively cheap boar meat when it’s in season. Of course if you live in the English countryside and know the right people, (or ‘accidentally’ knock one out with your car), you could probably get a nice hank of boar loin just as easily, however the Sydenham branch of Sainsbury’s do not stock it so even before I had started to cook this recipe I knew it was going to be a pain in the arse.

I could have tried a specialist butcher, but I’m inherently lazy so I turned to the internet and found www.wildmeat.co.uk, who have an amazing selection of game and deliver directly to your door in icepacks so the meat stays fresh in transit.

Thankfully the recipe wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be to translate on accounts of half of it being a completely non-related poem about drunk Transylvanians.

Slanina is un-rendered pork fat, it is essentially a large slab of the fat you get on bacon or pork belly. If you have a local Romanian shop they should stock it, if not you could try substituting for the fattiest lardons you can find.

…You will need to start this recipe four days prior to eating as you will be brining the meat.

Makes Cosmin's List

Ingredients

  • 1kg boar loin
  • 1kg pork loin
  • Appx 300g salt
  • 50g butter
  • 50g lard
  • 475g slanina sliced into 1 inch by ¼ inch pieces
  • 200g (approximately six whole bulbs) garlic peeled and sliced lengthways into matchsticks
  • 250g carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 onions diced
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 250ml white wine
  • 100ml sour cream
 TO SERVE
  •  Pickles
  • Mamaliga (polenta see Moldova) or mashed potatoes

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION

  • Calories | 749
  • Fat | 42.2g

Serves | 10 portions

Prep Time | 3.5 days

Cooking Time | 4 hours 50 minutes

method

  1. Fill a very large bowl with water and add enough salt so that a fresh egg (still in its shell) floats to the surface.
  2. Remove any string or netting from the boar and pork, wash the meat in running water and add to the salted water ensuring that it is fully submerged. Cover and leave for three days.
  3. Rinse the meat and return to a fresh bowl with clean water for a further half a day, again ensure that the bowl is covered and the meat fully submerged.
  4. Wash and dry the meat with kitchen towel.
  5. Grease a large baking pan with some of the butter, sprinkle over half of the slanina and garlic then add the meat fat side down.
  6. Score the meat and stuff in the remaining slanina and garlic.
  7. Melt the remaining butter and the lard and pour over the top of the meat.
  8. Add the carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and 100ml of the stock.
  9. Tightly seal the pan with tin foil, you don’t want any steam escaping. Cook at 165˚c until the meat is completely tender, maintaining the stock levels.  This will take a long time, mine took 4 hours and 20 minutes (!).
  10. Stir together the sour cream and wine, pour over the meat and return to the oven (still covered with foil) for a further 30 minutes.
  11. Drain the fat from the liquids (it will be about 30% fat and serve the meat with the remaining juice, pickles and mashed potato or mamaliga.

Based on a recipe found in Poveştile Bucătăriei Româneşti by Radu Anton Roman

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