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Friday, January 25, 2013


 Meat Stand at Marvillas Market in Madrid,  Spain
Photo by MRSamper
OCast çiervo, L. Cervus, Eng deer, doe, stag, hart. Deer were abundant in Al-Andalus. Milking deer was part of  select gastronomy. After the fawns, the most valued meat was doe, more than the male. The male did, however, have one virtue, which was the penis. It was dried, ground and consumed to produce sexual excitement. The animal’s appearance was somewhat like the goat as it was smaller in the Middle Ages then it is today. The Archpriest of Hita relates that hunting deer was part of a noble boy’s education. At that time, deer were mostly killed with bows and arrows. Celestina claimed that the heart of the deer has a bone used as a remedy to love well. Dioscorides claimed that the smell of deer scared house snakes away. Laguna stated that if the humor of the tail of the deer is drunk, it could cause agony in the heart, for which the only remedy is emerald powder or that of hyacinth, drunk after vomiting. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:219-220; ES: Ruíz, Nov 18, 05:133c; Espasa. 1988:13:CI:165-171; Laza. 2002:115-117:142; and Villena/Calero. 2002:22b]


Frying Plum Sauce for Venison
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1 chopped leek
¼ c olive oil
1 lb dried damsons soaked overnight (a mix of prunes and sour cherries can be used if not available)
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp lovage seeds (or celery seeds)
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp liquamen (or Nam Pla, Thai fish sauce)[2]
1 tbsp  savory, finely chopped
½ c vinegar
1 c red wine

So Delicious for Any Meats!
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Slice the leak. Heat the frying pan. Add the olive oil and when warm sauté the leek. Chop the dried damsons into small chunks. Add them and the remaining ingredients to the frying pan. Stir them together and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook slowly for an hour.  Pour into a sauce bowl and serve with roast venison.

[1] Inspired from Celtnet: < http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/roman/fetch-recipe.php?rid=roman-plum-sauce-venison>
which in turn is adapted from Apicius/Flower Book VIII, section II, Aliter in cervum assum iura ferventia. The amounts of ingredients have been changed as well as the cooking process. Further, neither damsons nor bitter cherries were available. Prunes, therefore, were used.

[2] Although not period a fish bouillon cube was used instead of liquamen or other fish sauces.

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