October 20, 2005

Prune Thursday

David , wild thing that he is, said
"Hey,I love prunes.. let's do a Prune Thursday" .
I adore Prunes, which can be a problem or a good thing.

I started dreaming about what I could make, but then decided that for his blog event, I should stick to something Tuscan.

When I teach my classes here in Florence we don't have time in a one day class to do long recipes like this, so when I am off, I like to cook the Slow Food recipes Slowly!

So for this recipe, I used the wild boar, which I can buy right here at the market and marinated it, then broke out my clay pot from Colle Val'D'elsa and watched a good movie as the stew slow cooked. The house smelled fabulous, my hubby was happy and so was I. Thank you David!

When I first started shopping the Central Market here in Florence, my wild boar butcher would have whole wild boars, fur and all!!!
Now things have tamed down some and the only fur is on the tiny stuffed wild boar he keeps in the counter!

So let me share some of my happiness. This is an ancient recipe from Florence for Cinghiale in Dolce Forte, which is a wild boar stew, with prunes, and chocolate.. Incredible! Sort of a Tuscan Mole.
I have made this with pork shoulder too and it comes out great.
Traditionally this is made with wild game, either hare or boar.

The marinade takes out the gaminess, and the chocolate and prunes give an incredible richeness and silkiness to the stew.


I wanted to get my photo up and give those reading my blog a heads up if they also want to partipate!

Cinghiale in Dolce Forte

2 cups red wine
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
I tbs pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stock, chopped

3 pounds wild boar, venison, or pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 tbs butter or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
I tbs pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
1 tsp chili pepper or more to taste
Salt, to taste

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 tbs pine nuts
3 ounces dried prunes, cut in half
Grated zest of one orange or candied orange rind
1 tbs raisins

If using wild game, the meat should definitely be marinated.
With other meats, this step is optional but recommended.
Bring the marinade to a boil and let cool.
Cover the meat and let it sit in the marinade for 48 hours.

Remove the meat from the marinade.
Strain the marinade.
Sauté the onion in butter or olive oil until golden. add the vegetables from the marinade and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the meat and brown lightly, add the strained marinade liquid. Spices, salt and cook until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed.

When the meat is tender add the prunes, chocolate, orange zest or candied rind, pinenuts.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with creamy polenta or on a thick slice of toasted country style bread.


  1. Uhm. Polenta, for me. And not so creamy: made with coarse bramata flour and 1/3 of grano saraceno flour. Cooked for 50 minutes and hard enough to be cut in slices. And the leftovers get roasted and dumped in cool milk.

  2. Oh my lord I am drooling, and that recipe seems dead easy! I will have to try that with pork.....heavenly.

  3. yum... methinks I have the dish I want to bring to The Vine's 1st anniversary party - they are going to DIE. Judy is it still really good with pork? 'Cause that's what I'll have to use...

  4. use pork shoulder cut into cubes.. not to small or you will end up with a cream.

    Sometimes I do this on purpose to serve it on bread as an appetizer!

    It is really fabulous!

  5. This is an easy recipe and the pork works great!

    One of the things I love about Tuscan cooking is the depth of flavor and simplicity of the techniques!
    It is really inspirational!

  6. Oh, wow! This sounds simple and good! I like the picture, too.


  7. Judy, do you think it would work with any "white" meats (chicken or rabbit) as my husband is on a gout diet, no red meat allowed! But this sounds really good and would love to try it.

  8. white meats don;t need marinade.. I know Mexicans use turkey for mole, just don;t over cook it!

    I would just not marinade, and follow the same directions. Adding the final ingredients and then turning off the heat!

  9. Judy, your recipe sounds absolutely delicious and very medieval or Moorish. When I've traveled through Catalonia, I ate some interesting slow-cooked meat dishes that combined chocolate and fruit. I particularly like the sound of your version with wild boar and will have to try to recreate it! Thank you.

  10. Judy, how many servings is this recipe? I am having a dinner party for nine... will this recipe be enough or should I double it?


  11. I usually figure about 3 or 4 ounce servings as part of a buffet.. with some polenta or mashes potatoes.
    In America I think portion sizes can be up to 8 ounces!

    this recipe is for 3 pounds of meat, so should easily do 9 servings, Somewhere between. When In doubt,add another pound of meet, freeze any leftovers.

  12. Anonymous2:45 PM

    A fabulous dish..My family loved it..The flavors are beautiful...Try it and you will be hooked..Thanks You for sharing.

  13. Anonymous2:07 PM

    How much time will it take to cook? One hour??

  14. Oooh I'm going to try this. I had wild boar stew years ago near the coast in Italy and all I remember was the richest strongest wonderful taste ever and this looks like it might head in that direction.
    On another note I have spent a lot of time in Florence and LOVE San Lorenzo market. Many tourists miss it even though it so large and I have done a lot of shopping there. I would love something like that back home. I miss it.

  15. Anonymous11:22 PM

    I bought Wild Boar Foreshanks from D'Artagnon. Can I use them in this stew?

  16. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Is the boar supposed to be finished inside the oven or on top of the stove? The recipe just states cook until tender. If in the oven, what temp and about how long?

  17. In Italy, almost all cooking is done stove top. Not in the oven.
    Clay pots are prefered for long slow cooking. Tends to dry out in oven. It is a stew.