Eating wild boar is a tasty way to do a good deed.
Across at least 39 states there are an estimated 4 million feral pigs and wild boars roaming about. And they are laying ruin to acres of land.
The problem with wild pigs is they are voracious eaters. Shocking, I know! And they tend to destroy natural ecosystems. There is no one solution. But eating them certainly helps. It's what I call taking a bite out of swine.
Puns aside, people throughout Europe and Asia have been eating feral oinkers for years. Italians are particularly fond of them, turning them into all manner of salumi.
Now Americans are starting to catch on. Feral pig is showing up on more restaurant menus, especially in the South, the epicenter of the problem. And a growing number of specialty meat stores have started stocking the meat, too. You can find chops and loin, but ground is the most common variety.
Wild boar has an assertive flavor, somewhere between pork and venison. It takes well to marinades and pairs wonderfully with cooked fruit and nuts. Use it just as you would pork and venison. The point isn't to mask the flavor, but to pair it with ingredients that don't get smothered by it.
Where to begin? Try it in this simple ragu over fettuccine. Leftover sauce would be delicious in a lasagna, a classic use of boar in Italy.
Fettuccine with Wild Boar Ragu
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 medium yellow onion, diced
•1 large carrot, grated
•1 stalk celery, diced
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•2 pounds ground wild boar
•1 cup red wine
•15-ounce can tomato sauce
•6-ounce can tomato paste
•1 pound fettuccine pasta
•2 tablespoons fresh basil
•1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
•Salt and ground black pepper
•Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste for garnishing
In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute for 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
Add the boar and cook until browned, about
8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping the pan, until the wine has mostly evaporated. Add the tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a simmer and cook for
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to package directions.
When the pasta is done, stir 1/4 cup of its cooking water into the sauce. Drain pasta.
Stir the basil and oregano into the ragu, then season with salt and pepper. Ladle it over the pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese.