One of the signs that Autumn is with us are the notices all over the countryside indicating ‘La Chasse’ are out! La Chasse translated into English means the hunt! The general hunting this year in Haute Savoie started on 8th September at 07:00 and finishes on 19th January 2014 in the evening. However it is not that simple there are different closing dates for different animals, for example the hare (Le lièvre), the chamois – a type of small goat and marmotte have a shorter season finishing during November and the dates vary from commune to commune and in some communes it is forbidden to hunt certain animals. There are also restrictions on which days of the week and numbers of game allowed to be hunted in each commune.
If you walk or hike regularly in an area in France it is a good idea to be aware of which days the hunt are out and on these days keep your dog on a lead in the hunting areas. Here in our commune it is normally Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Click on Chasseur de France for much fuller details of the hunting in France.
Another sign that the Chasse season is upon us is that the menus in the restaurants reflect this with wonderful autumnal seasonal game dishes like Autumn Salads, game terrines, rabbit (lapin), goat (chevre, chamois), quail (caille) wild boar (sanglier) and deer (chevreuil) prepared numerous ways including of course the Wild Boar Ragu/Stew – Civet de Sanglier!
I can’t say I am experienced wild boar ragu eater or maker but I used three different recipes as reference to create my own and I thought it came out very well, it is especially tasty if made a good 24 hours ahead.
Wild Boar Ragu
1 kg Wild boar shoulder meat chopped into 2cm chunks
flour for coating – seasoned with salt and plenty of pepper
Olive oil for frying
100g bacon lardons
1 large onion – peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves – peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots – peeled and finely diced
2 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sage leaves
500ml red wine – I used Savoie Jongieux Gamay
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp caster sugar
2 inch strip of orange rind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2
- Heat the oil in an ovenproof, heavy-based pan or casserole over a low-medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic.
- Season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the wild boar chunks in the seasoned flour. Add some olive oil to a separate pan over a high heat and add the wild boar pieces. Fry until the meat is golden brown on all sides, you may have to do this in batches.
- When the vegetables have softened, add the bacon lardons, bay and sage leaves, rosemary, juniper berries and orange rind to the pan. Cook for about five minutes until the bacon lardons and the vegetables have browned a little around the edges.
- Add the browned boar meat to the vegetables. Pour the red wine into the frying pan used to brown the meat. Cook over a medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any charred bits of meat.
- Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and sugar to the ragu and stir it through. Cook for two minutes stirring regularly to avoid burning.
- Pour the warm wine into the ragu, and add approx 150ml of water and bring to a simmer.
- Put the lid on the pan and place in the preheated oven for at least 2 hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender and the liquid reduced. Check once or twice in this time and stir to prevent the meat on the surface drying out.
I served this with Crozets au gratin a pasta from the Savoie region, but it would be great served with any pasta, polenta or creamy mashed potato and a glass of Vin de Savoie Jongieux Gamay
The three recipes that I gained my inspiration from were
All photos ©Copyright Caro Blackwell