Last year my wife, Becky, and I took a Chianti wine tour while on our honeymoon and we had the most amazing wild boar ragu for lunch at the vineyard while gazing over the Tuscan countryside.
I've been wanting to give it a try ever since and having the in-laws over for Sunday dinner last weekend seemed like a good opportunity to do something a bit special. I also happened to have a shoulder of wild boar in the freezer left over from a photo shoot, which was convenient!
The result was rich and succulent with a fantastic depth of flavour. Served with posh pasta it was a real treat.
If you'd like to make it yourself (and I highly recommend you do as it is absolutely delicious) here's the recipe:
2 kilos of wild boar shoulder cut into large chunks
For the marinade:
500ml red wine
200ml sherry vinegar
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 rosemary springs
a little fresh thyme
10 juniper berries, crushed
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave to marinade for 24 hours. Once marinaded, strain the meat into a colander discarding the liquid.
For the ragu:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
200g pancetta or smoked bacon, cut into lardons
1 large onion,finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
30g pocinni mushrooms, soaked in 200ml hot water
200ml red wine
tin of chopped Italian tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock (I like to use Marigold stock powder)
a squeeze of tomato puree
a little salt & pepper
Fry the wild boar in small batches in a little olive oil until nicely browned all over. Whilst browning the wild boar, take a large, lidded casserole dish gently fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until it starts to brown, then add the onion and continue cooking until the onion has softened but not browned. Add the wild boar to the pan along with the red wine, vegetable stock and the juices from soaking the mushrooms. Roughly chop the soaked mushrooms and add to the pan. Bring to a simmer, add a little salt & pepper, maybe a sprig of rosemary and the tomato puree. Pop the lid on and place in a pre-heated oven at 150 C/Gas mark 2 for 2 1/2 -3 hours. When ready break the meat up using a potato masher gently breaking the chunks up into smaller pieces but keeping a reasonably thick consistency. Add more seasoning if necessary and serve with your favourite pasta and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
This recipe will also work using pork, beef and lamb.