Roman Lamb stew


Aliter haedinam sive agninam excaldatam: mittes in caccabum copadia. cepam, coriandrum minutum succides, teres piper, ligusticum, cuminum, liquamen, oleum, vinum. coques, exinanies in patina, amulo obligas.


Put pieces of kid or lamb in the stew pot with chopped onion and coriander. Crush pepper, lovage, cumin, and cook with broth oil and wine. Put in a dish and tie with roux.

So now for the recipe

2 lb neck or breast of lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
a pinch each of pepper, lovage (or chopped celery leaves) and cumin
1 tsp liquamen (or Nam Pla)
1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp flour

Liquamen (also called garum) was a type of fermented salted fish. This was a common addition to Roman food. The closest modern equivalent would be Nam Pla, Thai fish sauce.

Cut the lamb into 1 inch cubes and gently fry in oil. Meanwhile grind the onion and the spices together is a pestle and mortar. Mix the Liquamen, olive oil and wine into this to form a paste. Add this paste to the meat and fry for a minute or so. Add some water (about 1/2 cup) to this and simmer gently for about two hours until the meat is tender (remember to check the liquid level and add more as needed). When the lamb is essentially done mix the flour with a little water and add this to the stew to thicken it. Serve immediately.

You now have a roman lamb stew, according to the roman book Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria.

The latin name of this stew is Aliter haedinam sive agninam excaldatam.

Homemade fish sauce

600gms small fish, including heads, cut up (1.323 lbs)

3 tablespoons sea salt

2 cups filtered water

2 cloves garlic, mashed

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1 teaspoon peppercorns

several pieces lemon rind

1 tablespoon tamarind paste (optional)

2 tablespoons whey

Toss fish pieces in salt and place in wide-mouth, 1 litre jar. Press down with a wooden pounder or meat hammer. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over fish. Add additional water to cover fish thoroughly if needed. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for about 3 days. Transfer to refrigerator for several weeks. Drain liquid through a strainer and store fish sauce in the fridge.

I was given a recipe for garum…a roman version of liquamen.

Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.

So a modern recipe would be.

Cook a quart of grape juice, reducing it to one-tenth its original volume. Dilute two tablespoons of anchovy paste in the concentrated juice and mix in a pinch of oregano.

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