Mixing chocolate and meat might seem like a modern culinary invention, but this recipe actually goes back to the sixteenth century. At that time, Florence
was starting to experiment with cacao which had only just arrived in Italy, and dishes like dolceforte wild boar were popular.
‘Dolceforte’ (literally meaning ‘sweet and strong’) recipes call for raisins, pine nuts, grated chocolate, candied fruit, sugar, flour, vinegar
and a little water. This mixture is poured on the meat once it has nearly finished cooking. It adds an intense but refined flavour to the meat. On eating this dish, there is first the sweetness of the chocolate, then the strong flavour of the meat and finally the bitterness of the cacao. This dish has a long cooking and preparation time which means that often it is only prepared on special occasions.
We suggest it for those who want to try an old recipe and enjoy flavours which have all but disappeared. This recipe is for hare but the same preparation can be used for wild boar, tongue or even dried salt cod.
- 1 hare
- 50 gr. prosciutto (Tuscan ham)
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 sprig rosemary
- a little flour
- 50 gr. dark chocolate
- 50 gr. pine nuts
- 50 gr. raisins
- 50 gr. candied citrus fruit peel
- ½ glass red wine vinegar
- extra-virgin olive oil
- brown cane sugar
- salt and pepper
Cut the hare into pieces, add salt and pepper.
Chop the onion, carrot, celery and prosciutto and sauté in the oil with the garlic and rosemary.
Add the hare, brown, drain off the oil and cook over a slow flame adding water or light stock occasionally to keep moist.
In the meantime prepare the dolceforte sauce mixing the raisins, pine nuts, grated chocolate, candied peel, sugar, flour, vinegar with a little water.
When the meat is almost cooked add the dolceforte, cook for a few minutes more to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.
Meats in dolceforte are good the following day provided they are served hot. There are variations to this recipe – drizzling the meat with white wine before adding the water or stock, or soaking the pieces of hare or boar in vinegar or salted wine overnight to soften the wild-game flavour, then rinsing and drying, blanching for 10 minutes, then again drained before cooking.
Then there is a lighter version of the dolceforte sauce which only requires vinegar and sugar.