Cold weather calls for game meats, rich sauces, and long, slow cooking methods. This is my favorite kind of cooking, cooking of substance, and the process warms your home and fills it with savory aromas.
These recipes also lend themselves to perfect pairings with deep, full-bodied red wines, an added bonus. This one in particular, using wild boar, is hearty and the meat is just slightly gamey, ideal for eating in a cabin somewhere in the woods next to a crackling fire, or just as well, in the middle of New York City.
Daube à la Provencale (serves 4):
1kg Sanglier, or wild boar shoulder meat, cut into 2" cubes
1 Onion, diced
1 Large carrot, or 2 small, chopped
3 Garlice cloves, lightly crushed
6 Sprigs fresh Thyme
6 Whole cloves
2 Bay leaves
30ml Grand Marnier
1 Bottle full bodied red wine
2 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 1/2t Sugar
Salt and pepper
Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven, or pot with a lid, over medium high heat. Once hot, add enough wild boar to fill the bottom of the dutch oven, do not overcrowd. Brown the meat on all sides. This may require you to do it in two turns, if your dutch oven isn't large enough to fit all of the meat at once. Once it is all browned, remove the meat, and discard any oil in the pan, leaving the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Place the pot back on the heat and add two more tablespoons of olive oil, along with the onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, parsley stems, cloves, and bay leaves. (Tip: the herbs can be tied together or placed into cheesecloth for easy removal later). When the vegetables and herbs have browned in the pan, deglaze with the Grand Marnier, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the dutch oven using a spatula. Add the flour and stir to coat everything, cooking one minute to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the wine, tomatoes, sugar, and wild boar back to the dutch oven, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook about 2 hours, skimming any scum that comes to the surface. Replenish with a touch of water if the liquid reduces too much.
100g Pitted black olives
Parsley, finely chopped
After the wild boar has been simmering for roughly 2 hours, in a separate dutch oven, brown the lardons until golden. Remove the lardons and discard the rendered fat. Return the lardons to the dutch oven, and using tongs, pick out the wild boar pieces from the sauce, and place them in with the lardons. Strain in the red wine cooking liquid into this dutch oven, add the olives, and simmer until the boar meat is very tender but not falling apart. Skim if needed and add water if the sauce begins to be too thick. Check for seasoning, and finish the sauce with freshly chopped parsley and a pat of butter to round out the sauce.
Cook the carrots in a small pan with water, a pat of butter, and a few pinches of salt until tender. Serve along with the daube. (The carrots could, alternatively, be sliced into rounds and added when the olives are added. Presentation would vary) Serve with pasta or rice. Enjoy.