by Cat, October 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
A few years ago I learned I had a food sensitivity to all things cow, pig and sheep. I was heartbroken, because I’m an avid meat eater. So I sought out sources of wild game, such as wild boar, buffalo, venison, elk. And then I had to learn how to cook with these meats. (2014 update: that sensitivity has been cleared by a local NAET practitioner).
The first recipe I tried was from a cookbook entitled Wonderful, Wonderful Danish Cooking by Ingeborg Dahl Jensen, published in 1965. I had originally stumbled across this book in a dusty old used book store in the skid road part of Portland in 1971, when I had first moved there. I picked it up because, first of all, I have a Danish heritage, and second, because the author’s first name was Ingeborg, the name of one of my great aunts, and I’d never seen that name in print before. It has since become one of my most Beloved Cookbooks.
Anyway, in this cookbook is a recipe titled “Old Recipe for Danish Stew (Stuvet Oksekød),” that resembles German Sauerbraten, and is made from beef or venison. I tried it with some buffalo stew meat, and I was hooked.
Then I adapted the buffalo recipe to use wild boar, which is like a cross between pork and beef in flavor and color of the meat. And I used some stale beer for the soaking of the meat instead of cider vinegar.
If you cannot find wild boar, perhaps someone in your community raises a heritage breed of hog (not the hairless pink pigs), as their meat is similar to boar. In a pinch you could use pork, but it won’t have the same flavor and texture as boar.
This recipe does not contain potatoes or other stew veggies; instead, these are served on the side.
Wild Boar and Beer Stew
Wild boar is similar to pork, but also somewhat resembles beef. I’ve never tried this with pork, so don’t know how it would turn out, but the wild boar is quite delicious.
A key to success with this recipe is: always use low/simmer heat; don’t sear the meat.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 ¼ pounds wild boar stew meat, cut into 1″ cubes
- ¼ cup amber-colored beer or ale (stale beer/ale is best)
- 2 Tbsp real butter
- 1 onion, sliced into ¼ inch rings
- 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour
- 1 cup homemade vegetable broth or rich chicken or beef stock
- ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt, or to taste
- ⅛ tsp fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- shallow bowl or baking dish
- large cast iron skillet or stainless steel saucier pan with lid
- Prep: Place cubes of boar meat and any blood in a shallow bowl or baking dish and sprinkle with the beer. Let rest in refrigerator for about 30 minutes, while you prepare the sauce.
- Cook: Melt butter in pan over low heat. Add onion slices and cook 10 – 15 minutes over low heat, until translucent and lightly browned.
- Add flour and stir until the butter and flour are well mixed. Continue to cook about 3 minutes to warm the flour.
- Slowly add the stock, stirring well to avoid lumps, until the mixture comes to a boil. The sauce should not be very thick; it will thicken as it cooks. If too thick, add some filtered water a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency.
- Place meat and accumulated liquids into the pan with the sauce, and add the salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and simmer gently over low heat for 2 hours, adding more filtered water as necessary to keep sauce from getting too thick. After the first hour of simmering, add the thyme, and stir well.
- After 2 hours, check for tenderness and thickness of the sauce, and adjust seasoning. The sauce should be like a medium-thick gravy. If not thick enough, cook a while with the lid ajar. Continue to cook longer, if needed, to reach desired tenderness.
Assembly or Serving Suggestions
- Serve with small steamed red or fingerling potatoes, tossed with butter and chopped parsley; or with steamed brown rice.
- Steamed or seared green beans are a nice accompaniment for this stew, as also broccoli.
- Wonderful, Wonderful Danish Cooking by Ingeborg Dahl Jensen, published in 1965