The Literate Chef

Wild Boar Stew

In Pork, Recipes, Stews on October 21, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Preparation time, 1 hour; Cooking time 4.5 hours. Serves 4.

Wild Boar Stew

Wild Boar Stew


4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. Wild Boar Shoulder, cubed 1.5-2.0 inches
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
2 cups of Chianti
1 28 oz. can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes, chopped, retain liquid
6 tbsp. chopped fresh herb combination, (2 tbsp. each of oregano, rosemary & sage)
3 bay leaves
¾ lb. (about 12-14) of small yellow potatoes, leave whole
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced


  1. In a heavy casserole pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. In two batches, add the Wild Boar Meat, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, turning frequently. When browned to your liking, remove meat and set aside.
  3. Add garlic, onions and celery to the pot and brown lightly, remove and set aside.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add back the meat and vegetables and any collected liquids.
  5. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, herbs and bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower heat, keep covered and cook for 3 hours.
  7. Remove bay leaves and discard. Remove meat and set aside.
  8. Transfer the gravy to a food processor and process until smooth. Add back the meat.
  9. Add the potatoes, and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour.
  10. Add the carrots and continue cooking on medium low for 30 more minutes. The stew should cook for 4.5 hours total, excluding browning.


Is it Autumn Yet?

In General Articles on October 21, 2017 at 10:45 AM

With the Harvest Moon making its recent appearance in the New England sky and Halloween a few weeks distant, the feel of Autumn should have been nigh; although based on our 70° weather, it’s propinquity might be a matter of conjecture. In any case like the Ant in the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, we thought it best to be prepared, so two weekends ago we did a bit of cooking, laying in some comfort meals for the eventual cool weather.

The key is making big batches of hearty meals that can be pre-portioned, then defrosted and heated up with little bother on those dark and chilly nights when you want to do nothing except curl up on the couch and watch Netflix.

So here they are, one old standby and two new ones: Uncle Fred’s Lentil Soup; Wild Boar Stew and Wild Boar Ragu. The Lentil Soup is an annual standby and an homage to my godfather, Fred. The Stew and the Ragu are the result of serendipity.

Half a century ago there was a restaurant on the Eastside of Manhattan called Friar Tuck’s. It was located on 2nd or 3rd Avenue, around 54th or 55th Street. It was there that I was introduced to the delights of wild game, specifically Medallions of Young Wild Boar.

Recently I received an email from D’Artagnan, a specialty butcher in Manhattan who does a great job of delivering hard to find cuts of meat to your front door (see Where have all the Butchers Gone?) The email advertised a Shoulder of Wild Boar weighing between 3 and 5 lbs. That got me thinking about Friar Tuck’s, as well as remembering a fabulous meal of Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu, that I had in a Tuscan hill town, a number of years ago.   

The Shoulder of Wild Boar, delivered by FedEx two days after placing my order online, was 4lbs. I decided to split it in half and make a Stew and a Ragu. Portioning our the Ragu and the Stew should produce 10 individual meals. The Lentil Soup should provide an additional 10 or so individual meals.

I hope that Netflix is ready for some heavy duty autumn binge-watching!




Wild Boar Ragu

In Pasta, Pork, Recipes, Sauces on October 21, 2017 at 10:37 AM

Preparation time: Marinate-Overnight; Cutting & Chopping-1 hour; Cook Time 4 hours. Serves 6 – Adapted from NY Times and Epicurious Magazine

Wild Boar Ragu with Fettucine

Wild Boar Ragu with Fettuccine

Step 1: Marinate the Meat Overnight

Ingredients for Marinated Meat:

  • 2 lbs. Wild Boar Shoulder, cubed 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsps. whole peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 cloves garlic, halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 or more cups of Chianti, enough to cover the meat

    Mix the above in a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the Ragu, discard the rosemary, garlic and bay leaves. Drain the meat in a strainer over a bowl, and reserve the marinade.

Step 2: Make the Ragu

Ingredients for Ragu:

  • Meat & reserved marinade from Step 1
  • 6 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 2 cans of tomatoes, chopped and use liquid
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsps. anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 3 or more cups of low-sodium vegetable broth


  1. In a heavy casserole pot, heat the olive oil on medium.
  2. Add onions, carrots and celery and lightly sauté for about 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
  3. In two or more batches, add the Wild Boar Meat, brown on all sides turning frequently for about 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add back the vegetables from step 2.
  5. Add the marinade and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy paste and chopped herbs.
  7. Turn heat to medium low, and cook uncovered for at least 4 hours, until meat easily fall apart. (Note: Stir the ragu periodically and add 1 cup of vegetable broth at a time to prevent the ragu from burning. You may need to use a whole quart. You can also cover the ragu for the last 30 minutes so it doesn’t burn. (Note: Most of the liquid should be absorbed.)
  8. Remove bay leaves and discard. At this point the ragu is done and can be used immediately or frozen in small batches and used later. There should be enough for 6 meals, or a meal for 2 on 3 separate occasions.
  9. Serve with choice of pasta; Pappardelle, Tagliatelle or Fettuccine(Note: Heat the ragu & cook the pasta separately for 2 minutes short of al dente, remove 1 to 2 cups of pasta water, add to ragu and mix well, remove the pasta from the water, add to the ragu, mix well again for about two minutes.)
  10. Serve with chopped basil and grated Pecorino Romano, preferably Locatelli brand.


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