roast wild boar with apple cider and juniper

I wanted to cook something that was quite typical of the Wellington region for my trip there, and had started the discussions with Catherine from Nabygelegen back in April.  Wild boar it seemed was the one thing that was fairly common, and the poor suckers  get shot frequently on the farms in the area because they can be a bit of a nuisance.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have an Asterix and Obelix fantasy around wild boar, I have pretty much wanted to experience their favourite food since reading the comics as a child.  This notion popped up once again a few years ago when my vegetarian nephew, then aged about 8 started reading Asterix, and declared to his mother that he really wanted to eat boar.  He wanted to eat it spit roasted in the open over a fire. As you do. My sister, despite her no-meat eating philosophies actually tried to set it up for him, but living in deep Johannesburg suburbia at the time, was unsuccessful.

asterix and obelix catching and eating boar

So the date was set, the plan was made, the boar had been shot by the owner of Nabygelegen, James McKenzie and I drove out there to go and cook it.

At the same time I discovered a special treasure of a farm and wrote about it here.

the boar was running past the houses on nabygelegen when it got shot

I asked around as to what the best way to cook it was, and got advice ranging from ‘do as little to it as possible, only add salt and pepper’, to ‘add seasoning as it will need it’.  I was also advised to treat it like I would pork. I decided on a recipe idea and packed my ingredients

When I first saw it it looked more like a shoulder of lamb than pork.  It was much darker in colour and had very little fat. No thick fatty crackling layer in sight.

the raw boar prepped and ready for a roasting

So this is what I did to roast a shoulder of wild boar:

I preheated the oven to 220 C. I chopped a few baby leeks and 2 onions, and placed them in a small roasting dish. I added a few sprigs of thyme, a few bay leaves and a small handful of sage. I tossed in a few dried juniper berries and poured a bottle of cider (350ml) in.  I then drizzled olive oil over the meat and seasoned generously with sea salt and black pepper.  I sealed the pan tightly with foil and roasted it for 1.5 hours, turning the oven down to 200 C as soon as it went in. I then took off the foil and allowed the meat to brown for about half an hour.  I turned the meat and roasted it for a little bit longer on the other side.  I then removed it from the oven and allowed it to rest.

I made a jus by straining off all the pan juices through a strainer into a pan, and heating this on the stove.  I added a heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a good splash of the very delicious and lightly wooded Nabygelegen 2009 Chenin Blanc, and allowed this to reduce a little. I’m calling it a jus because that is what it was, vs. a gravy which would have been thickened.

I had also peeled 4 Granny Smith apples and chopped them into chunks.  I popped these into a small roasting dish and roasted for about 30 minutes until they were soft and mushy.  This was the chunky apple sauce we ate with the boar on the side.  Seriously I will never buy a commercial apple sauce again.  Roasted Granny Smith make the perfect alternative, packed with sweetness and acidity, you do not need to add another single thing.

I carved up the rested boar into thin sliced and placed these back in the roasting dish.  I poured the mustardy jus over the meat and served these with oven roasted sweet potatoes with the skin on. 

A simple, rustic farm lunch.

We enjoyed this with a few of the Nabygelegen wines, and I particularly enjoyed it with the Snow Mountain (their second label) Pinot Noir 2010. 

simply roasted and served with sweet potatoes, chunky apple sauce and a mustard jus
a mild game taste
a vinyard on nabygelegen

21 Comments

  1. Looks so divine. What was the meat like? *Yum yum yum*

  2. Corlea Fourie

    That Snow Mountain Pinot Noir of James is a stunner. It all looks so yummy. Will look at the boar trails on the farm with new eyes after seeing this post.

  3. Looks delicious!! You’ve got my email now so no excuse for not inviting me next time.

  4. Sam

    Excellent Dax, I cant wait to go back, such a beautiful place.

  5. Sam

    Lori, the meat was a lot like lamb with a mild gamey flavour. Quite lean and thus very healthy. Obvioulsy 100% organic and free range too :-). I would love to cook it more often and have heard that there is someone in Wellington that is looking to start selling the meat. I would also love to try it in a casserole and to hot smoke it.

  6. Sam

    Yes James Pinot is wonderful, I could easily drink a few bottles of it. I loved the boar and would love to cook it again.

  7. Wish I could get hold of boar – if it tastes as good as it looks, I definitely want a piece of that action! Your preparation and complimentary flavours sounds perfect as well.

  8. liz linsell

    Amazing creation Sam, and story – i love it!! will certainly share with the young gentleman to which you refer!!

  9. Sam

    Thanks Marisa, it was such an interesting experience to cook boar. I would like to cook it more often and you should defs give it a try. As Wild Peack if they get it in?
    S

  10. Good suggestion! Wild Peacock would definitely be able to point me in the right direction at the very least.

  11. Sam, you will have to invite me over and convince me. Last time I had it, it was just too wild for my taste . I am convinced that you made it taste much better!!!

  12. Sam

    Hi Ali, so would I and am looking into options 🙂

  13. wild boar looks great can”t wait to cook it this weekend [dec 2011] will let you know how i get on

  14. Sam

    Awesome Gerald, let me know how it goes. I wish I could cook boar all the time.

  15. Amanda Walker

    There is no list of ingredients. Can you please send me one urgently! I want to do the recipe on Sunday (6th Jan.)

  16. Sam

    HI Amanda, If you read the method it lists everything in more or less quantities for the recipe

  17. Amanda Walker

    Better to have a list of ingredients rather than having to read through the instructions every time!

  18. Sam

    Hi Amanda, I have an ingredient list for about 98% of all my recipes, but for this one it was slightly more relaxed and I wrote about what I put into the roast in my method. There were no exact measurements. The thing is, this recipe, along with the 350 odd other ones I have taken the time to develop or do, photograph and publish on my website over the last 3 years are all totally free to you or anyone else in the world that may enjoy them. If you are not happy with the way I write up my recipe, please feel free to click away from my site and find another site that is better suited to your needs.

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