Wild Boar Stew starts with wild boar, you would say? This raises the question of availability. Wild boar is usually available during en after hunting season (fall). Fresh is great, frozen is fine!
Wild boar meat is similar to pork, but darker in color and generally leaner. For this recipe, we will use neck or shoulder.
OK, so make sure the meat is diced (pieces no bigger than 2 cm or 0.8"). Season with freshly ground black pepper and fry in butter until golden brown. Remove and leave to the side in a bowl. Do not clean the skillet but use again in the next step.
True, wild boar is the star ingredient, but most stews start with a combination of chopped onion, carrot and celery (or mirepoix, in French). This one is no different. Chop equal amounts of these three ingredients dice-wise.
In the same skillet, fry the mirepoix in butter (or olive oil) until the vegetables get a little soft and some color. I prefer to add some finely chopped garlic and fry that along with the veggies for about a minute. Add some tomato paste, mix in and fry for a minute. This will remove the acidity of the tomato paste.
Now remove the mirepoix.
Now, wild boar may be a little expensive. You can stretch it by adding some mushroom at this point. Fry the mushrooms with some additional butter; add some thyme.
Now you come to a critical decision: what liquid to use for your stew? I have a few suggestions:
- Red wine (the stew does not get better than the quality of the wine). If you think the wine is good enough to serve with the meal, the wine is good enough for cooking)
- White wine (if you feel lucky)
- Beer, for instance a Trappist strong beer
- Veal or beef stock
- A combination of the above.
Make sure all ingredients are covered with the liquid. Add some juniper berries and bay leaves. Simmer for at least an hour and a half, preferably longer, stirring regularly. The stew gets better with time. You could well prepare this stew the day before dinner!