Ingredients

  • 3–4 lbs pork
  • bottle of dark beer
  • 5–10 black peppercorns
  • root vegetables, 1 of each
  • 5–10 allspice

Method

Wash a leg of pork, wrap it in a napkin, and put it in a stewpan with cold water and 2 large handfuls of fresh, fragrant hay dust. Boil it up once or twice, then remove the pork from the napkin and place it in a stewpan. Add allspice and black peppercorns, 5–10 of each, 2–3 bay leaves, and the usual root vegetables, one of each kind. Pour in a bottle of dark (chernoe) beer; cover and stew until done. To serve, skim the fat from the sauce, thicken it with flour, and pour the sauce over the meat. Serve with chestnut sauce, stewed cabbage, or boiled potatoes.

*Molokhovets defined buzhenina as “the hind quarter of a fresh unsalted boar (vepr’), which is cooked on a dripping pan like any other roast on two crisscrossed sticks.” Vepr’ means wild boar in Russian, but Molokhovets seemed to use the words for boar and pork (svinina) interchangeably, as in this recipe. I have followed her usage, although, gastronomically speaking, the flesh of the wild boar is considered a delicacy and preferred over that of the ordinary domestic pig. The freshly gathered hay obviously added to the flavor and aroma of this dish. Molokhovets used hay and straw extensively in the kitchen, for baking and smoking and as an indispensable part of her batterie de cuisine. See the Introduction under Stoves and Ovens for further examples

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