GORE FEST – WILD BOAR STEAKS

IT'S THE PROTEIN RICH LEAN RED MEAT THAT COMES FROM AN ANIMAL WITH TUSKS. EAT WILD BOAR FOR YOUR HOLIDAY FEAST THIS WEEKEND, WITH OUR FLESH-RIPPING RECIPE.

The favoured prey of Asterix and Obelix is making a comeback in warrior diets. High in protein and low in fat, wild boar is the european equivalent of the elk meat finding its way into the recipes of top US nutritionists like Mike Dolce of The Dolce Diet fame. And unlike other ‘exotic’ meats the taste doesn’t disappoint – it’s nutty and rich like game, quite distinct from pork or chicken.

Sus scorfa began to disappear from the UK in the 13th Century and are thought to have been extinct on these shores since the late 1500s. They returned in the 1980s when enterprising farmers began raising unusual livestock like ostrich to cater for the fine dining explosion. 

But a boar is not reared for captivity, and many escaped to create semi-mythical enclaves in The Weald, thirty miles south of London, and The Forest of Dean in the West Country.

More boar are thought to have been re-introduced to the British countryside unofficially, by a mysterious organisation akin to a cross between the animal rights movement and the druids. This group released 60 animals into the Forest of Dean in 2004, where they bred with the existing population to the extent that the ‘sounders’ there, to use the official name for a group of boar, are now a tourist attraction. The boar are officially classified as dangerous animals, and will noisily attack dogs who come too close. 

Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury is a big fan, and cited his appetite for eating un-castrated wild boar against a positive steroid test result.

Specialist British boar farmers such as The Cotswolds’ Real Boar Company (therealboar.co.uk) and suppliers such as The Wild Meat Company (wildmeat.co.uk) supply cuts ranging from roasting joints and steaks to the boar salami you’ll breakfast on when on holiday in the balearics. 

Or you can use our two quick wild boar steak recipes right here…

 Wild boar steaks from  Wild Meat Company ,  stone chopping board  by Tom Dixon

Wild boar steaks from Wild Meat Company, stone chopping board by Tom Dixon

Wild Boar Steaks with Heritage Beetroot and Cumin Seeds

Ingredients:

Two wild boar steaks

Oil – we use Good Hemp Oil

Heritage beetroot

Cumin seeds 

Chives, chopped

Salt, pepper and butter

And how to cook them:

Boil cook the beetroot for around 30 minutes depending on size.

Heat up two tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and whack the steaks in for ten minutes, turning regularly.

While they’re cooking, take the beets out of the pan and slide their skins off. Cut them into wedges.

Take the steaks out after ten minutes as instructed and put them to one side. Add another tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter to the pan, let it heat up and put the beetroot wedges in.

Fry the wedges for five minutes then sprinkle in a small handful of cumin seeds. Fry for another five minutes.

To serve, put the beetroot on a serving dish, slice the boar, and place the meat on top. Sprinkle a handful of chopped fresh chives on top.

Our people at local wine merchant In Vino Veritas recommended a New Zealand Pinot Noir to accompany, Millton La Cote 2015.

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Wild Boar Steak and Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients:

Two wild boar steaks

Red kale

Wild mustard garnish

Two shallots, finely chopped

One garlic clove, mashed or finely chopped

Half a cup of blueberries (Americans can use huckleberries)

Half a cup of red wine

A teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced

Sea salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar to taste

And how to cook them:

Finely chop up the shallots. Warm up some olive oil in a frying pan and sizzle the shallots until brown around the edges – should take about five minutes.

When the onions are done, take the pan off the heat and scoop all the onions up into a little bowl.

Wipe that pan down or use a fresh one for the boar steaks. Use olive oil again; sear them for just a couple of minutes either side. It’s a lean meat, so it’ll get very dry if you over-do it.

When the steaks are done, move them to a chopping board. Put the onions and the garlic in with the boar steaks’ cooking juices.

Sprinkle some salt (pref posh salt, EG pink Himalayan) in. Add the wine, let it heat up, and add the blueberries. Cook for two minutes max.

Add half a tablespoon of vinegar plus more salt and pepper. Test it and add sugar as necessary if it’s too sharp – just a teaspoon or so at a time.

Veg-wise we steamed some red kale. Get rid of the thickest bit of the stem, or all of it if you’re not down with stems. Red kale is high in calcium, vitamins A, C and K, lutein and xeaxanthin, so it’s superb for your bones, skin and eyes.

Garnish the wild boar with organic wild mustard (hey, it was on special offer) and serve it all up.

If you’re a drinker – our local wine merchant at In Vino Veritas, Walthamstow recommended a pinot noir, preferably from Burgundy, so we went for the Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 2013. Any red wine will do for the sauce, of course.

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Steve Beale