Last week when I spoke of the benefits of cast iron cooking, I bragged about my cornbread recipe. Well, it's not really my recipe. The recipe belongs to Dean Peacock, from the Fishhook Ranch in Nolan, TX. I'm not even sure Mr. Peacock is still alive.....my little cookbook is so well-used that the cover has separated from the rest of the book, and preparation spills are evident throughout the pages.
But this recipe has stood the test of time; I even found it mentioned in a 1989 New York Times article on Western cooking! So at the request of Morgan, a faithful reader.... first up is the cornbread recipe.
DUTCH OVEN CORN BREAD
3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
Heaping Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. shortening
3/4 cup milk
Mix dry ingredients well. (In the words of Mr. Peacock....."mix the hound out of it.") Add 2 Tbsp. shortening. Cut like pie dough. Add enough milk mixed with one whole egg to make batter a little thinner than pancake batter. (I have found that it takes more than the 3/4 cup milk called for.)
If baking in the oven, pour batter into pan and bake at 450˚ for approximately 20 minutes. If baking in a dutch oven, put 4 Tbsp. bacon grease in bottom of pan. Make sure it covers the bottom. Heat grease and then pour mixture into heated Dutch oven. Cover and put ring of coals on bottom with a few coals on top. Be sure to pre-heat Dutch oven lid and pot before adding bacon grease and cornbread mixture. Depending how hot your fire is, this could take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Check often.
OK, you'll need something to go with your cornbread, right? Well, down here in the South, we like MEAT! And there is an abundance of wild boar (or wild hogs, if you prefer). And yes, they are a nuisance to ranchers and farmers, but they do have their benefits. Best for cooking are a sow, or a young boar, under 100 pounds; or larger boars if they haven't been castrated---you just don't want that rutting buck, deer smell; wild, musky---if you're a hunter, you'll know what I'm talking about.
So here's a tasty recipe for preparing wild boar:
DUTCH OVEN TOMATO-BRAISED WILD BOAR
3 pounds wild boar shoulder or roast
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 onions, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
2 quarts canned crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups white wine
Water or chicken stock, as needed
Season the shoulder well with salt and pepper at least 4 hours before cooking and refrigerate. If cooking in the oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees. If cooking in Dutch oven, heat the olive oil in the bottom of 12-inch Dutch oven (about 5 inches deep). If you need to add more oil to cover the bottom of dutch oven, then do so. Make sure your fire is hot enough to brown the meat on all sides, without burning it. Remove the meat and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, sage and rosemary to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes or so. Add the white wine, return the shoulder to the pot, and add enough stock to come halfway up the shoulder. Place in the fire, with coals surrounding the bottom of the pot, and some coals place on top of the lid. Cook over a medium fire for about an hour, checking often to adjust fire if needed. Then turn the shoulder or roast. Repeat until the meat is tender enough to pull apart easily, adding stock as needed. (The age of the hog will determine how long it takes to become tender). Once tender, allow to cool slightly, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.
So my last comment is this: should we happen upon hard times, it doesn't mean that we are reduced to eating nuts and berries. With a little corn meal, some baking staples, herbs, and the ability to hunt, we can still partake in delicious fare. So if you have other time-tested recipes, why not share with the rest of us? We are all in this together, so let's spread the finger-licking goodness around!
Genesis 27:3 "Now then, get your equipment -- your quiver and bow -- and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me."