Here is a fun and unique dish: a simple red wine reduction sauce for game, made with the fruit of the Dog Rose (Rosa Canina). The recipe is Czech in origin and unknown outside of the country, although its taste is as delicate as Cumberland Sauce or Sauce Grand Veneur, and it makes an accompaniment to game dishes equally as interesting. It does show that Czech cuisine can go beyond dumplings, utopence and tlačenka...
Rosa Canina is a climbing rose species native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It is a shrub normally ranging 3-15 ft in height. The stems are covered with small, sharp, hooked spines that aid it in climbing. The flowers are usually pale pink and mature into an oval 1/2-1 inch red-orange fruit, called the hip. The dog rose was the stylized rose of Medieval European heraldry. It was probably also the kind of climbing rose Charles Perrault had in mind when he wrote the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale (La Belle au bois dormant) in 1697, the rose that covered the Sleeping Beauty castle (Château d'Ussé in the Loire Valley).
The fruit has a tangy, fruity flavor similar to that of cranberries. The fruits are best harvested after the first frost, which makes them turn bright red and slightly soft. There are many culinary uses: apple sauce, soups and stews, syrups, puddings, marmalade, tarts, breads, and pie, or made into a jam or jelly. It is also very rich in Vitamin C, higher than citrus fruit. It has been used for medicinal purposes since the Roman times. Here, it is just used as an essential ingredient for a great wild game sauce!
Last updated: October 12, 2010