Wild boar is always popular at Friends. Less popular is my comment that they are locally caught! However, what we eat is a bit of
an anomaly, as it is actually farmed, although these days there are around 2,500 of these medievallooking creatures roaming free in our countryside.
This, the ancestor of the domestic pig, was originally hunted to extinction in Victorian times, and as recent as the 1950s, they were not resident in the UK.
How they came back is unclear to me, one theory being that they escaped from captivity, and some landowners accepted that they
have a right to a habitat in our woodlands.
In France, as in Italy and other parts of central Europe, the sangliers were not eliminated. In fact the bête noir, a hunting term, has remained a sought after repast.
Up to six months old, they are known as marcassin, at which age the meat is most tender and need not be marinated. The meat becomes stronger as the animal ages, and then benefits from marinating for 24 hours.
Much as I enjoy this flavoursome meat, I am not sure I would enjoy confronting the fearsome beast in the wild! Being confronted by the local variety in one of our fine hostelries is far less intimidating.
This one of the ways we serve wild boar at Friends:
Medallions of wild boar with juniper berry sauce
Ingredients (Serves 4)
865g medallions of boar
For the marinade
150ml red wine
8 crushed juniper berries
6 crushed peppercorns
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
2 cloves of chopped garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
350ml stock (chicken or veal)
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tsp arrowroot
Method 1) Mix the ingredients for the marinade and immerse the boar medallions. Cover and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
2) Drain the meat and reserve the marinade. Cook the lightly seasoned medallions in hot oil for a few minutes on each side, leaving them pink in the middle. Keep warm.
3) Tip off any excess oil and pour the marinade, including the ingredients, and the stock into the pan.
4) Bring to the boil, stirring to release any residue from the boar.
5) Add the redcurrant jelly, and mix into the stock.
6) Dilute the arrowroot in a little water, and stir into the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
7) Strain the sauce into a clean pan, and simmer gently until the correct syrupy consistency is achieved.
8) Season to taste. Arrange the medallions on plates and serve with some red cabbage.