By far, my favourite pasta dish on a cold winter night is a Bolognese. It’s also a nice dish to make for a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day. Slow cooked food is always a labour of love for me. Not that this dish is very time consuming, or has you standing on your feet for hours. But more so, that it requires patience to simmer away for a couple hours to become tender and allow the flavours to meld together. The result is a seemingly rustic pasta dish that is sexy and luxurious.
When I found some wild boar in a local market https://urbanbutcher.ca/product/ground-wild-boar/ I was pretty excited. I’ve had wild boar in restaurants before and really enjoyed it. But also, it’s just nice to eat a different type of meat, especially if you are making it for a special occasion. Vitamins and minerals vary in meats, so it’s beneficial to eat a wide range of protein.
I read that wild boar was very lean, however, the ground boar I bought was not. After I browned it I used a few paper towels to absorb the oil and I also skimmed the fat off the sauce as it cooked. The extra effort is worth it though as the flavour of the boar is delicious.
I used a mushroom powder in this recipe that you may not have on hand and is a bit expensive. You can omit it all together, but I really like the earthiness mushrooms add. Alternatively, you can buy dried mushrooms, rehydrate them, chop them up and add them. I’ve seen packs at pretty much every grocery store. Just be careful, they usually have sand in them, so after you soak them get rid of the liquid. Also, make sure to chop them up into the same size pieces as the rest of the vegetables. Mushroom powder, like Reishi has lots of health benefits. I actually really like the flavour of it. I mix it with almond milk and it tastes like chocolate milk. For awhile I was mixing mushroom powder, collagen, coconut oil and almond milk into my coffee. You shake it all together and it turns into a nutty latte.
Be sure to take your time browning your meat and letting the Bolognese cook for a lengthy amount of time, it’s definitely worth it. You will develop rich flavours and tender meat.
Wild Boar Bolognese – serves 4, takes at least 3 hours
- 2 pounds ground boar, or 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 pork
- 1/2 med onion, chopped roughly
- 2 small carrots, chopped roughly
- 2 sticks celery, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp dried mushroom powder, I used Reishi – optional
- Parmesan rind – optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 14 oz can tomato sauce (I used only 3/4)
- 1 bay leaf
- about 5 cups of water, plus 1 Tbsp Better Than Boullion Beef, or low sodium beef stock, or chicken
- 1 box of pasta, I like spaghetti, penne or pappardelle
- Parmesan for serving
In a heavy bottomed pot, like Le Creuset, over medium high heat, brown the ground boar. Mine was very fatty. I used a lot of paper towels to absorb the oil, but you may want to strain it. Be sure to keep at about 3 Tbsp of fat. While the meat is browning, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to a food processor and pulse until it is between a dice and minced size (pictured above). Once browned add veggies from the food processor. Sauté for 10min. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf, mushroom powder, parmesan rind, bouillon and water. Let it come to a bubble, then immediately turn it down to low. Simmer for at least 2-3 hours, stirring every so often. Remove the bay leaf, parmesan rind and thyme sprigs before serving. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.