Walking in Burgundy in the winter you have to take care. From September to February when the temperature descends and the days shorten, Burgundian men like nothing more than to get together, drink plenty of wine, eat well and hunt wild boar.
Companies of these bristly black-haired beasts have roamed the forests of Burgundy for millennia. In the glory days of ancient Gaul, Asterix and Obelix supposedly feasted upon dozens of wild boar before 'having a go' at the Romans, and the prized meat has remained on the winter menu in Burgundy ever since.
Turned into terrine, slow roasted and cured, wild boar is sadly unavailable to buy at the butchers, but the meat of wild boar finds its way into local kitchens and freezers through a bartering system among the hunters and hunting clubs in each village.
Go into any huntsman's cold cellar during the winter months and as well as plenty of exceptional wine, you will also find humming freezers packed-full with haunches of boar meat wrapped in plastic bags.
Lucky enough to be invited hunting this season, I got the text message last week, that half a boar was waiting for me. After a happy evening of butchery, the cuts were divided and packed for the freezer. Half a kilo of shoulder meat remained and with my father coming to visit, I decided I cook a wild boar stew.
Lean and muscular, boar takes some cooking, but with local red wine and plenty of herbs its rich and aromatic reduction makes it well worth the effort.
- · 1 kilo of wild boar meat cut into large chunks.
- · 1 large onion, chopped
- · 200g butter
- · 1 bottle of vine de bourgogne
- · 500 ml of beef stock
- · 5 carrots, chopped
- · 100g of plain flour
- · a head of garlic, chopped
- · 400g of dried morels.
- · 200g of smoked bacon
- · three stalks of celery, chopped
- · black pepper
- · Salt
- · Sage
- · Thyme
- · Bay
- · Rosamary
1. Cover the boar in red wine and leave to marinade over night with black pepper corns and a generous bundle of sage, thyme and a couple of bay leaves.
2. Drain the boar, pat dry and lightly coat each piece in flour. Do not throw out the wine!
3. Melt the butter to a heavy casserole and brown each piece of boar over a steady heat. Making sure to turn each piece until sealed.
4. Remove the boar and set aside. Keep the casserole on a gentle heat and deglaze with butter and a cup of red wine.
5. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the celery, garlic and carrot. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Add the boar to the casserole and cover with the remaining wine and bring to a gentle simmer.
7. Add the beef stock and a bungle of the herbs. Place in an oven at 120oc and cook gentley for 3 hours.
8. Meanwhile soak the mushrooms in a bowl of cold water for two hours. Drain and add to the pot. Cook for a further hour.
9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with par-roasted potatoes or mash.
If you are interested in wild boar hunting while staying at The Hungry Cyclist Lodge do get in touch.