As you guys may have already gathered from my general step-back from most things in the “sweets” department, sweet wines aren’t exactly my cup of… well, glass of wine I suppose! either. But, with the winter festivities not that far behind us, of course there are still some remnants and strays lingering around my pantry. Like, for example, a bottle of semi-sweet Burgundy Pinot Noir Hubby’s Grandmother gave to us – according to her, her favorite late-night “Sip-let” before bed.
Since we both knew what kind of wine it was, but neither of us wanted to phrase our suspicions out loud and thereby kinda-sorta insulting his lovely grandma’s taste, we didn’t touch it for a while and then decided to give it a try anyways. While I have to say, I kind of get what one could like about this wine, my palate – and hubby’s too, for that matter – vehemently protested against a second unaltered sip. It really wasn’t a terrible-tasting liquid per se, but without anything to go with it, seriously odd and generally the absolute opposite of what usually swirls around in our wine glasses. Of course, my backup plan had been turning it into something edible right from the start, a Boeuf Bourginion to be precise. But the instant that first sip made its way across my tastebuds, my plan tilted sideways a bit and all I could think about, due to it being equally sweet, earthy, fruity and kind of tart, was a really full-bodied oomph in the venison department. Oh and something nutty and fruity. And since were doing the forest thing already, some mushrooms… and… Well, you guys know how these things go.
A couple of hours later I had completely bastardized my favorite recipe for a classic Boeuf Bourginion and all that remained true to the original was… the wine. Which, in its reincarnation as a glossy coat on a pile of yumtastic meat, veg and quince cubes turned out to be delicious enough for me to go ahead, buy another bottle, fire the stove back up and refine the recipe for you guys~! Here’s the result, enough to fill 4 hungry tummies~
The Boar Bourginion with Quinces, Chestnuts & Chanterelles
800g Wild Boar, shoulder or shank, diced into 3-5cm large chunks
500g Quinces, defuzzed, peeled and diced into 2-3cm large chunks – keep them in heavily lemon-juiced water until you need them
250g Precooked Chestnuts
600ml Pinot Noir/Burgundy Wine – for once, considering the gamey turn this took, I’d recommend a semi-sweet/dry one rather than a solid dry or sweet
4 Tbsp Cointreau
2 Tbsp Venison Spices – you can find my personal blend in this Venison Steaks with Black Cherry and Chanterelle Ragout recipe over here. Store-bought Blends are fine too, but they usually lack a couple of things i absolutely love to have in my venison blend, like coffee beans and allspice.
3 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
3 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 Dried or Fresh Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Plain Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp Juniperberries
1 Tsp Ground Allspice
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 large Brown Onion, roughly chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
2 Carrots, topped, tailed, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
1 Leek, topped, tailed, thoroughly cleaned and double-checked for soil, sliced into 1cm-disks
A 2cm-thick Slice of Celery Root, diced into 1cm-cubes
200g Parsnip, topped, tailed, peeled and diced into 1cm-cubes
4 Tbsp Clarified Butter/Ghee
25g dried Cape Gooseberries or Barberries
1 Tbsp Concentrated Tomato Purée
400ml Venison Stock
2 Tbsp Quince Jelly – clicky here for my Quince Jelly recipe if you want to take it all the way~
1 Tsp 80% Chocolate, finely grated
1 Generous Pinch each of Sugar, Salt, Pepper, Hot Chillies and a splash of lemon juice to taste
Opt: 2 Tsp of Cornstarch to thicken up the sauce some more – dissolve them in 1 Tbsp of lukewarm water before stirring it into the stew
1) Place the fresh and dried herbs and spices, meat and dried mushrooms in a container and cover everything with the wine.
2) Seal the lid and stash the container away in a cool spot and allow the lot to soak up the flavors of the marinade for 24+ hours.
3) Once you’re ready to fire up the stove, fish the meat cubes out of the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Drop any of the swimmers clinging to the cubes back into the marinade, you’re going to need them again very soon.
4) Pop a large (Stew)pot onto medium-high heat and add the clarified butter.
5) As the pot is getting ready for work, mix flour, salt, pepper, chillies, allspice and cayenne until well combined.
6) Evenly dust the meat with the flour mixture on all sides.
7) As soon as a little test-dip of a piece of meat into the hot ghee gives you a sizzling “Go!”, sear the rest of the lot in small batches until they’re evenly browned all around. Place the finished, deliciously golden bits on a warm plate lined with paper towels until you’re through with the whole lot.
8) Repeat the same same procedure with your veggies, going in batches until everything has taken on some color.
9) As soon as you’ve worked your way through everything, transfer everything back into the pot.
10) Generously season the pile with salt and pepper as well as any traces of the flour mixture the meat cubes might have left behind, and gently fold in the tomato purée.
11) Give the pot about 3-5 mins to get back up to speed, then deglaze it with the stock, the hooch, marinade, spices, herbs and all.
12) Make sure to rub the bottom of the pot clean with a rubber spatula at this point to convince every last bit of roasty deliciousness hanging around there to merge into the stew.
13) Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat to medium-low and allow the lot to simmer away for 2-2 ½ hours – until the boar has turned deliciously juicy and tender.
14) Check up on the pot from time to time and give it a little jiggle to keep things from sticking to the bottom.
15) For those of you with no time for regular checkups to spare an oven at your disposal: 90 min at 150°C will take care of things for you (once you’ve arrived at stage 13, that is)~
16) Once resisting taking another (and another.. and…) “test” bite of the meat becomes hard work, pull yourself together and use a slotted spoon to fish every last bit of boar out of the sauce – place the pieces in a warm bowl and cover it with aluminum foil once you’re done to keep everything warm.
17) I always take most of the veggies out along with the meat, but you could also go with option b) and strain all of them through a sieve to turn them into a sort of fine purée that will become a delicious part of your sauce.
18) Strain the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the whole spices and herby bits – and purée the bits of veg that will undoubtedly have escaped your spoon earlier.
19) Pour the fragrant liquid back into the pot, turn the heat to medium-high and add the dried fruit, chestnuts and jelly.
20) Give it a good stir to dissolve the jelly, then allow the sauce to reduce down for 4-5 mins.
21) In the meantime, get a pot of lightly salted and lemon-juiced water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the quince cubes. They’ll need about 20 mins for the next stage, so return to the stew for the time being~
22) Just in case you’re still looking at a somewhat “watery” liquid despite your efforts to reduce it down to a silky-smooth setting for your stew, this is the time to handle the optional starch. Stir the starch/water combo in and give it 3-4 mins to work its magic.
23) Give the sauce a taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning.
24) Once you’re happy with taste and consistency, dot the I on both by stirring in the grated chocolate.
25) Transfer the meat back into the sauce, turn the heat to low and close the lid.
26) Time to finish off the quince-related business! As soon as the quince bits are al-dente, drain off the water and replace the pot with a wide, heavy-based pan.
27) Add a bit of butter and, while that’s melting on medium-high heat, pat the fruity dice with a paper towel to remove excess water.
28) Dust the cubes with a pinch each of sugar, chilli flakes and salt, then add them to the pan and with the assistance of an occasional flip, caramelize them for 4-5 mins.
29) Once they’re done, gently fold them into the stew and set the pan back onto the stove.
30) Add the chanterelles to the recently vacated pan and fry them for 5-6 mins without any additional butter until they’re tender.
31) Dust them with finely chopped parsley and set them aside for just a few blinks.
32) Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and top them off with the chanterelle-parsley mix.
33) My personal favorite to go along with the stew is a dark, crusty, caraway’y bread (if you can find that in an appropriate size, you could hollow it out a little and serve the stew in it~), but a pile of wild rice, some sort of sauce-soaking pasta, oven-roasted rosemary potatoes and/or lamb’s lettuce are a delicious match as well~