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History Cookbook: Pork with Pine Nut Sauce

This recipe is in categories Romano-British, Main courses, Soups and Sauces
About this recipe
Healthiness : (31 votes)
Difficulty:  4 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: This sauce has several steps and some skill and control is needed.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (spread over the cooking time)
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes (spread over the different tasks)
Number of servings: 4-6
Serving suggestions: Serve with flat bread, salad or one of the Roman vegetable dishes.


This recipe makes enough sauce for 4-6 people. It isn't easy to make the sauce in very small quantities, so it would be worth making this amount even if you prepare less meat.

This Roman sauce is a little like a satay. It is quite delicious and has a very intense flavour.
The recipe is from Apicius and has many features common to the cooking of this period. Black pepper and fish sauce are both used for example.
Romans ate reclining and food was generally served to be eaten with your fingers. The meat is cut into strips so it can be dipped and then put straight into your mouth. The sauce needs to be thick enough to cling to the meat, without being too messy.

Ingredients
  • 1 pork loin steak per person
  • 100 gm pine kernels
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 level tsp celery seed
  • generous ginding of black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried mint or 2 tsp fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh savoury (use more thyme if you haven't got any savoury)
  • a good pinch saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 60 ml sweet white wine (or grape juice)
Equipment
  • Frying pan
  • Pestle & mortar
  • Small pan
  • Sharp knife
  • Spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.


  1. Dry fry the pine kernels on a medium heat
  2. Keep tossing and moving until they are lightly browned
  3. Set aside to cool
  4. In the same pan, dry roast cumin and celery seeds
  5. Grind in a mortar with plenty of pepper
  6. Put the herbs, saffron and pine kernels into the mortar and pound until they make a smooth paste
  7. Add the honey and oil and grind again
  8. Tip the mixture into a small pan and add the vinegar and fish sauce
  9. Cook the pork chops in frying pan, cooking slowly until done
  10. Remove from the heat and slice into strips to dip
  11. Blend the sauce until smooth and heat (the mixture should reach a clinging consistency)
  12. Adjust the flavours and add little wine if needed
  13. Serve as a dip with the sliced meat
Pork with Pine Nut Sauce  - print view  Pork with Pine Nut Sauce - print view

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Comments
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Name: Summer Elisebeth Bennett 17th November 2015
the hole recipe was amazing and the sauce packed a punch
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