Wild Boar is one of those things that you are thrilled to see in a restaurant, but rarely see at the store – and consequently never make at home. When we partnered with CRMR‘s Urban Butcher and found out they had wild boar shoulders, we were over the moon – a Wild Boar Ragu is always something we have wanted to try at home and have never had the chance.
Now, it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it is really things you probably have at home. We have created this in a dutch oven to build the flavour (and make it more complex, aka delicious), but you could also do this in a slow cooker, it just wouldn’t be as thick a sauce or have as much depth to it.
Also, when you go into Urban Butcher to get this cut, check out all the other amazing and delicious options they have. We have our eyes on the cold smoked steaks next. ** yum **
3 lbs wild boar shoulder
Salt & pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 onion, diced (large)
1 celery, diced (large)
2 carrots, diced (large)
4 cloves of garlic, diced (large)
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef or veal broth
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbs thyme
1 can diced tomatoes (~800ml)
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp lemon juice
3-4 bay leaves
2 tbs cream
¼ cup parsley, chopped
500g tagliatelle pasta
Preheat the oven to 325F. Dry the boar shoulder with paper towel and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika (Urban Butcher in Calgary carries this AMAZING Triple Smoke Smoked Paprika from Vancouver Island that smells absolutely incredible). Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated (you can wet your fingers with water and flick it at the oil, if it spits, its hot enough), place the boar shoulder in to sear. Sear on all sides until brown, about 3-4 mins a side. Don’t worry if it leaves some browning on the bottom, that is all flavour and will be picked up in the sauce.
Once the boar is seared, remove it from the dutch oven and set aside. Add the onion, celery and carrots, and sauté 3-4 mins until they start to soften and the onions begin to become translucent. Add the garlic, and sauté until it becomes fragrant. Add the rosemary and thyme, and season the veggies with salt and pepper. Sauté for a minute and add the tomato paste. Sauté for an additional minute or two and ensure all the veggies are coated. Add the wine to deglaze the pan – scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to get all of those little brown bits off the bottom of the pan. This will help not only clean your pan, but add flavour to your sauce.
Simmer that for 2-3 mins until the liquid starts to thicken. Add the broth and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3. Add the diced tomatoes, lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir to ensure everything is fully combined. Taste test to see if it needs salt, pepper, acidity (the brightness of the lemon juice) or sweetness (maple syrup). Add more if you think it needs something. Add the bay leaves and bring the sauce back to a simmer.
Now, add the boar should back to the pan. Place the lid back on and place in the oven for about 3.5 hours until it is fall apart tender. Remove the should from the pan and place into another bowl (baking dish works too). Using two forks, shred the boar shoulder. Doing it in a dish makes it easier to handle and navigate, without having sauce in the way. Once all of the meat is shredded, add it back to the sauce and mix in the cream. It should now be a pretty thick sauce. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water (with a pinch of salt) to a boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water to the sauce to help thin it and give it a good consistency. The starches in the water will help the sauce stick to the pasta, so make sure you use pasta water, not just regular water. Drain the pasta and add it to your sauce. Mix together thoroughly so you get a good distribution of sauce, meat and noodles. Distribute between your plates (usually 1-2 cups pasta per person, depending how hungry they are) and top with parsley. Serve immediately.