Cooking up some wild bounty offers chance for something different

This is the first in a series of three articles on preparing wild game and foraged foods.

Often, the hunter and gatherer is more excited about the food than the cook so here are a few ideas for the person cooking up the wild bounty.

This week features wild pigs or what most people call wild boar.

There is no season for wild pigs. It is a pest in our country so it is open season. Hunters are allowed to shoot wild pigs without a licence as long as they operate within the regular provincial hunting rules.

Research by the University of Saskatchewan shows that wild pigs — a mix of wild boar and domestic swine — are spreading rapidly across Canada, threatening native species, such as nesting birds, deer, agricultural crops and farm livestock.

Wild pigs are now firmly established in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, with populations scattered in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Wild boar meat is similar to pork, only darker, redder and more intensely flavoured. It is also less tender and fatty, and works well with a slow, low-roasting or braising method of cooking. The meat lends itself well to a pulled pork style to serve on a bun or a ragout sauce for pasta.

Roast of wild boar

  • 2 lb. wild boar loin or shoulder roast 1 kg
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. olive oil 125 mL
  • 1 c. diced yellow onions 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. diced celery 125 mL
  • 1 c. diced carrots 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste 30 mL
  • 3/4 c. red wine 175 mL
  • 5 c. beef stock 1.25 L
  • 8 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). In a mixing bowl, combine six cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Season outside of roast with garlic mixture.

In a roasting pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat then brown meat on all sides.

Remove meat from pan then set aside. In the same oil, sauté onions, celery, carrots and remaining minced garlic until wilted.

Mix in tomato paste then deglaze the pot with wine. Simmer until wine reduces by half.

Add stock, return meat to pan and cover with bacon. Bring to a rolling boil, cover tightly and place in oven.

Roast two to three hours or until meat is fork tender.

Remove roast from pan and allow meat to rest for 30 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Creamy parmesan polenta

  • 7 1/2 c. water 1.875 L
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt 7 mL
  • Pinch baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c. coarse-ground cornmeal grits, not instant 375 mL
  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL
  • 4 ounces good-quality Parmesan cheese, grated, about 2 cups, plus extra for serving 115 g, 500 mL
  • ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed four-quart pot over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about one minute. Reduce heat to low and cover.

After five minutes, whisk polenta to smooth out lumps, about 15 seconds. Make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of pot.

Cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until grains of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.

Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with black pepper.

Let stand, covered, five minutes. Serve with more Parmesan on the table.

Roasted apple, brussels sprouts and bacon

  • 2 lb. brussels sprouts 1 kg
  • 1/2 c. walnuts 125 mL
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 2 apples
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 45 mL
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter 15 mL
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 c. apple cider 375 mL
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled 115 g

Trim the brussels sprouts so the pieces are of similar size for even baking. Remove some leaves, cut some in half or quarters and leave some smaller ones whole.

Spread the sprout pieces on a baking sheet. Add the walnuts. Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch (12 mm) strips and add as well. Cut the apples into thin slices and add them also. Drizzle two tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil over all the ingredients, and season well with salt and pepper.

Toss so that all are coated with oil.

Place in the oven.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining one tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil. Add the sage leaves and sauté until crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Add the apple cider and a few pinches of salt to the pan and reduce to a glaze.

When the vegetables in the oven are golden brown, in 15 to 20 minutes, transfer them along with any drippings to the saucepan and toss in the glaze.

Place the vegetables on a serving dish. Top with the goat cheese and the fried sage leaves and serve.

Potato, carrot and squash mash

  • use any quantity of vegetables you need for the meal.
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • squash
  • butter, optional
  • cream, optional
  • salt and pepper

Peel and cut potatoes into large pieces. Place in a large pot and covered with cold, well salted water. Peel and cut carrots into large pieces and add to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce heat to maintain a slow boil until tender but not fully cooked.

Meanwhile peel and clean the squash. Cut into two inch (5 cm) pieces and add to the pot with potatoes and carrots. Continue to cook until all the vegetables are tender. Drain.

Coarsely mash the potatoes, carrots and squash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add butter and cream if you wish and mash again.

Serve.

Recipe contest

We all have family favourite recipes that for reasons of diet, food restrictions or personal preferences we have adapted to meet these needs.

We’re asking our readers to share their adapted family favourite recipes. The contest draw will be made Dec. 2 for a basket of baking ingredients.

Please submit your adapted family favourite recipes, along with your name, address and phone number, to team@producer.com or mail:

The Western Producer, Adapted Favourites

1000 – 3530 Millar Avenue

Saskatoon, Sask.

S7P 0B6

Sarah Galvin is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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