Driving through a small hilltop village in Tuscany, surrounded by leafless chestnut woods and lost, grumpy, cold and hungry, I decided it was time to stop. I chose an empty establishment with pink tablecloths and floral-tiled walls. Once seated I received no menu, and it was clear there was no choice. You ate what you were given. 'Cinghiale,' said a stout, short woman, and I nodded. A dark stew was produced from a huge copper pan resting in the glowing hearth. Brought to the table, it was surrounded by fabulously rich, cheesy, bright yellow, wet polenta. With one mouthful my good humour was instantly restored.
As the place was empty I asked for a little more, which greatly pleased my proprietor. I then asked her about the great hound that lay in the corner and the terrifying fresh stitches in its flank. She said it was her husband's dog and had been brought down by the very brute I was eating. The boar had been slowed down by a bullet, but as the dog was upon it, he had not escaped the goring tusks of this furious dying pig. My interest and appetite secured a couple of free grappas, and I was on my way. It had seemed like a good place to stop and it was. This translation of the recipe is not far off what I remember her telliing me, and what I tasted. I've replaced the boar with pork, but use boar if you can.
Recipe author: Valentine Warner
What To Eat Now
Photography by Howard Sooley
Reproduced courtesy of Mitchell Beazley
|Publisher's Copyrighted Material|
For 6 Serving(s)