Try This Boar Stew on Sous-Video Because Autumn Is Coming
My grandfather ate a lot of meat, even a possum, but he didn’t care about the texture of the boar. His boar stew recipe was simple: cook boar with a variety of vegetables, then “throw the meat in the trash and leave the broth.” It’s worth noting that he was not a family chef, but the fact remains that a wild pig can be quite tough if not cooked with care.
Is this part of Will It Sous Vide? the column in which I usually do whatever you want with my immersion circulator.
Fortunately, the immersion circulator is the most flavorful cooking appliance, and you can cook stews that contain both fatty, filling, tender meats and aromatic, heart-warming broth. If it still feels a little warm for a stew, be aware that this meat, shredded, can also make a great filling for tacos, and tacos don’t know the season.
Like our sous vide chili , this is an overnight draft and like most stews and sauces, it gets better if you leave it on for a day after you’re done cooking. It may sound like torture, but the fusion of flavors that happens in this bag is well worth the wait. To make it yourself, you will need:
- 2 lb. boar stew, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 diced sweet Italian peppers
- 6 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 canned chillis in adobo sauce (I mean two chillies in a can, not two cans).
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 5 sprigs of fresh marjoram
- 1 large sprig of rosemary
- 1 sprig of tarragon
- 1 bay leaf
If your meat is frozen (I had it), let it defrost completely in the refrigerator. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onions and peppers over medium to high heat until tender and well browned. The darker the vegetables, the more umami they will add to the dish, but be careful not to set them on fire. Add garlic and cook until aromatic and golden brown (about two minutes). Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for a couple more minutes, until the paste turns dark brick red.
Transfer the vegetables to a gallon freezer bag and brush the pan with wine, scraping off any cute little browning left by the vegetables. Wait a couple of minutes and then pour it into the bag. Season the meat with salt and pepper and put in a bag along with all the other ingredients. You can tie the herbs into a small garni bouquet with twine if you like, if you don’t like catching individual twigs, which I ended up doing because I forgot to tie my herbs.
Place this bag in a 145-degree sous-vide water bath using a displacement method to remove air and help the contents stay submerged. (You can also use a vacuum bag if you like, but I didn’t find it necessary in this recipe and vacuum bags are quite expensive.)
Let this crazy pig hang out for at least eight hours or until 12. I found that the meat was chewed a little more than I wanted at eight, but it was still much softer than most other stews I ate. Ten is pretty much ideal, but I overslept my alarm, so I didn’t take that batch until the 12 o’clock mark. Fortunately, that extra two hours did not affect flavor or texture in any way.
You could eat this meat straight out of the bag, and that would be fine, but that’s all it would be. When I first tasted the boar after taking it out of the small jacuzzi, I was disappointed. It was nice, but not as tender as I thought, and the taste didn’t hit me. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if it was good enough to talk about him. I chilled it in an ice bath and – somewhat morosely – put it in the refrigerator.
The next day I tried again and found (with great relief) that the cold rest period significantly improved both the texture and taste of the meat, and I happily ate it over the long weekend. While filling, the herbs and peppers keep it from being too rich to enjoy on these off-fall days, and the easily minced meat can be used as an excellent taco filling or rice bowl. While I can’t say with 100% certainty that my grandfather would have liked it, I’m pretty sure he would have liked it. I know that he, at least, would have liked it more than a possum, who only made good money.