The Stewpot Recipe Gallery
Esicia Omentata (Pine-nut Stuffed Meatballs)
Arwen Southernwood and Tatiana Pavlovna Sokolova
Ground Meat Patties in Omentum: Grind chopped meat
with the center of fine white bread that has been soaked in wine.
Grind together pepper, garum, and pitted myrtle berries if desired.
Form small patties, putting in pine nuts and pepper. Wrap in omentum
and cook slowly in caroenum. [Giacosa, pp. 89-90]
4 cups red wine (to boil down to 2 cups caroenum)
1 lb. ground pork or beef
4 slices of white bread
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
8-10 juniper berries
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup pine nuts
Put the four cups of red wine in a saucepan. Boil over
medium-high heat for about half an hour, or until the liquid has reduced
Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the slices of bread and tear the
bread into bits. Place in a large bowl and pour the 1/4 cup of red
wine over them. Knead until the red wine is evenly distributed; the
mixture should be pasty. Add meat and mix well.
Grind together peppercorns and juniper berries. Mix with fish
sauce and pour over meat mixture. Mix until spices are evenly distributed.
Form walnut-sized meatballs, making a hollow in each with your thumb.
Place 6-8 pine nuts in the hollow and roll meatball firmly to seal.
Poach dumplings in reduced wine for about 6 minutes, turning once while
cooking. Remove meatballs and allow remaining liquid to reduce by
half. Serve hot, with reduced liquid as a sauce.
Number of Servings
Makes approximately two dozen meatballs.
I have chosen to omit the omentum (pork caul fat) and simply
poach the dumplings in the caroenum. The meatballs seemed to remain
quite moist without it. Juniper berries are substituted for myrtle
berries, as the latter were unavailable.
For this recipe, a Cabernet Sauvignon works well.
Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini (Herklotz, Anna, translator). A Taste of
Ancient Rome. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London,
1992. ISBN 0-226-29032-8.
Vehling, Joseph Dommers (translator). Apicius: Cookery and
Dining in Imperial Rome. Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1977.
Date Of Redaction
January, 2002; revisited March, 2003.