I am loving the Captcha Code function that WordPress/ food24 have installed for us to post comments on other peoples blogs. Ever since the change over from Letterdash I have battled and battled to post any comments. I am a bit verbose in this department and tend to leave long responses. My study walls have started crumbling from all the swearing and insults that have been squeezed out of my clenched jaw every time I saw that blinking ERROR 455 message pop up on my screen. It got so bad that I just stopped commenting – I was still reading posts but couldn’t face another error code! My apologies to you all as I must have appeared to be ignoring your blogs, but I would have needed to wear Max’s mouth guard in order to survive another error code with my teeth and jaw intact.
My freezer has been groaning at the hinges of late. Italians love to hunt and as soon as the season opens my nephews and friends have a habit of arriving with oversized cuts of hunted meat for me to cook and I couldn’t be more grateful. The time had come to ease the meaty burden on the drawers and get some of the meat out of the freezer onto the table.
Tuesday morning I all but dove into the beast and pulled out the first piece of meat my hands touched a la Pot Luck! Out came a fair sized boulder of something. The label had fallen off and all I could do was wait patiently for it to defrost and to take it from there.
To my utter delight it turned out to be a nice piece of Wild Boar. I love game meat and decided to roast it Ragu style. Italians approach most roasts in this manner, preferring to cook long and slow in a fragrant bath of herbs and wine. This is man food – whole and hearty and Asterix would just love this!
I had a fair amount left over which I hid away from Max in the freezer and today I am chopping it up nice and fine and making fresh ravioli with it for our dinner tonight!
Wild Boar Ragu
Roasted Wild Boar Ragu Style
Ragu di Cinghiale
So what is a Ragu, basically it’s a large piece of meat cooked in a tomato based sauce with all
the aromatics and flavourings such as the Holy Trinity made up of carrot, celery and onion. This is not the sort
of method you would cook a piece of fillet in but rather a nice muscly shoulder, neck or leg roast with plenty of connective tissue that will morph into glutinous heaven with a little love and care.
You can use this method of cooking with all meats and would just adjust the flavouring to best
compliment the meat.
What a beautiful meat this Wild Boar is.
1 Roast of Wild Boar – leg or shoulder
2 large onions chopped to a medium dice
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and cut on the diagonal into 2 inch lengths – I used 4 large carrots as I served the
carrot with the roast. You can do this if you wish.
2 stalks of celery cut into two pieces – this makes it easy to remove them from the sauce before
100g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon cut into a dice
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
8 juniper berries
1 400g tin of
peeled tomatoes – place them in a bowl and crush them up by hand
2 glasses of good red wine to deglaze your pan with
400ml of good chicken stock
Pepper to taste
Roasting is all about getting maximum flavour out of each ingredient and keeping it in the pan or pot.
Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees.
In a heavy based pot or pan (that can go into the oven) heat your olive oil and brown the pancetta
or bacon, onions and garlic with the rosemary.
Remove from the pot to a bowl
Pat the meat dry with a towel and add to the pot and brown the meat on all sides and set aside in the
bowl with the onions.
You will have loads of caramelisation or browning on the bottom of the pan. Add the wine to pot and using a wooden spoon
scrape all of the flavour off the bottom of the pot while the alcohol cooks out
of the wine. If you don’t like to cook with wine, you can use the chicken stock to get all of the flavour off the
bottom of the pot.
Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, carrots, onions, celery, meat, bay leaves and juniper
berries back into the pot. Add the pepper and taste the sauce and adjust your seasoning to suit your taste.
Make sure that your meat is submerged in the sauce. If it’s not, add some boiling water, you can always reduce the sauce down at the end of
cooking if it’s too thin. The last thing you want is a piece of dried out meat!
Make sure that the meat is covered with sauce to prevent it from drying out.
Now your cooking time is dependent on the size of your piece of meat.
I would say that this roast was about 1kg and it took about 2 and a bit
hours to cook to the desired tenderness.
I always put the meat in at a high heat, around 220 degrees for 40 minutes and then reduce the heat right
down to 160 degrees for an hour – take the roast out of the oven and check it –
if the meat is falling apart then it’s done. If not, reduce the heat to 150 degrees and cook for another half an hour
or so. The meat in a Ragu must be falling apart. So just keep going until
it’s falling apart and the sauce is a deep rich pool of flavour.
I recently cooked a leg of mutton that was enormous and it took close to five hours to get it to
the state of tenderness that I wanted. Roasting is like that – long and slow and your home is filled with the
wonderful aromas that only a roast can impart.
Patience pays off!
Once it’s cooked transfer the meat – which will just fall apart when you touch it, to a serving
platter. Taste your sauce and adjust the seasoning, remove the carrots and celery.
If the sauce is too thin, just boil it until you get the consistency
that you want.
And that’s it – as easy
I served this with wilted
garlic and lemon baby spinach, oven baked potatoes and the carrots from the sauce!
I just had to share these pics of Patrick our gardener, enjoying a mug of Rasam, the spicy Indian
Soup that I posted on Tuesday.
Patrick enjoying a mug of Rasam.
If you have a cold or the flue – this exotic blend of tamarind and spices will sort you out!
More Roast Recipes
Rack of Lamb with an Indian Spiced Crust and Baked Spiced Potatoes
or perhaps you are expecting a crowd this weekend, this is the Italian Version of the Mac and Cheese,
it’s called Pasta al Forno and is guaranteed to warm hungry tummies and put smiles on dials!
I will post the ravioli that I am making with the left over Wild Boar Ragu next week.