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The noble game: stewed deer morsels, juniper flavoured, with sprouts of turnip

(La selvaggina nobile: bocconcini di cervo in guazzetto al ginepro con talli di rapa)

  • A)
  • 800 grams of deer flesh, cut in small pieces
  • 4-5 leaves of laurel
  • 6 spoons of oil
  • B)
  • A chopped mixture composed by:
    2 celery ribs
    1 medium onion
    1 carrot
    3 garlic cloves
    1 small leek
    a small bunch of parsley
    the leaves of 5-6 branches of calamint (also dried)
  • C)
  • A blended mixture composed by:
    10-12 juniper berries
    3 garlic cloves, the leaves of a small branch of rosemary and the ones of a big cluster of sage
    3 cloves, a big pinch of fennel seeds
    one meat stock cube
    one boletus mushroom stock cube
    one fish stock cube
    the rinds of ½ lemon
    2 apples (the so called “golden”) without core and peeled and cut in pieces
    ½ litre of very hot white wine
  • 4 turnip’s sprouts
  • salt and pepper
Take a saucepan and put the oil and the leaves of laurel indicated at point A) together with the chopped mixture at point B) and let them brown over a medium-brisky heat, turning very often until the ingredients will get a hazelnut colour.
Add the meat, let it brown, but not too much, for 5-6 minutes always over a medium-brisky heat, taking care anything would stick on the bottom of the pan, then add the blended mixture. Turn and mix very well, start again with the boiling, adjust the heat for a very light boiling, cover as hermetically as possible, cook for 45 minutes turning twice.
In the meanwhile take a potato peeler and peel the turnip’s sprouts, as to remove all the wooden parts, then cut them giving them a cube shape (not too small, like the potatoes for the stewing) and put them in fresh water. After 45 minutes taste if the cooking meat is tender and in case of positive answer taste and add some salt if necessary (but the three types of stock cubes should guarantee the right level of salt) or possible herbs, according to your imagination (pepper, spices, myrtle, some other juniper, some other apples and so on in order to highlight the bittersweet flavour). After this (if the meat is not tender cook it a little bit more, adding some more hot water in case the sauce would result too thicken) add the pieces of turnip’s sprouts.
Turn and mix very well, start once again with the boiling, cook 15 minutes; this time should be sufficient (if the sprouts are young and fresh) to soften the turnip’s sprouts and to flavour them in the sauce, so that they can become a little bit bitterish, particularly appetising, impregnated of the sweetish taste of the cooking sauce.
Serve very hot over roasted slices of bread, rubbed with fresh onion: it is not vulgar, we should say it is an exciting thing if we are uninhibited as regards as to the pleasure. Viceversa, if your desiring stimulus are dominated (well it is much better saying repressed) by the fashionable “properties”, that means “to look”, well it’s a real pity: you do not deserve garlic and onion!
NOTA BENE: the right amount of these two splendid herbs, abundantly used and taken into account in all the cultures, world-wide and at any time (with few “snobbish” exceptions) can be calculated when their presence in a recipe is not clearly felt.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni


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