Cinghiale stufato

( Wild boar stew )

Ingredients for 4 servings: 1 ½ abundant kg of wild boar; 2 big white onions, 1 black onion, 1 small apple (the best is rennet apple), 1 large carrot, 1 tender celery stalk; ½ glass of extra virgin olive oil from taggiasca olive; ½ cup brandy, 2-3 cloves of Vessalico garlic (the best), 1 leek, 40gr of strictly Italian pine nuts, 8-10 whole nuts, 10 juniper berries, 1 large sprig of parsley, one of rosemary and a sprig of marjoram. A pinch of wild oregano, a little hot chilli, salt and pepper.

Cooking time: about 20-25 minutes to reduce the gamey flavour, plus an abundant couple of hours to cook to perfection!

Preparation time: one hour-an hour and a half, but who cares! Take the necessary time.

****: Very elaborate dish, which requires time, good manual dexterity, passion, attention, sensitivity, very specific and delicate ingredients, well .... something for experts, brave and imaginative.


  1. If you buy the boar in a shop, have the butcher prepare it well, taking care to buy and mix lean and fat, but also ribs and bony parts. Only in this way, you will get the right balance in the final taste. If you are sold/offered it by hunting friends, the work will certainly be a bit longer but the result will be far superior! Unlikely you can find true wild boar at the butcher's. Let’s consider, therefore, the second hypothesis, and see how you need to proceed. It is often frozen for storage, but also for the maturation, which makes its meat more tender. If so, let it thaw slowly, perhaps leaving it out of the refrigerator the night before cooking, without “torturing” its poor flesh under jets of hot water to speed up the process. Slayers! You can use a common, not plastic container. Forget sauces, marinades in spiced wine, and any other aberration!

  2. After well drying it with kitchen paper, cut the boar into small pieces (where possible). Once finished, place them into a large and low saucepan, mixed with a handful of coarse salt and some nice whole nut (which will take away the bitter taste). Place the lid. Stir occasionally, keeping it closed for as much as possible. I normally wear two insulated oven gloves, and grip together the handles and the lid, shake the pot gently and then slowly spin it (the movement of the gold diggers). The meat, because of the sudden increase of temperature and the salt placed earlier, begins to ooze, releasing a liquid that must be thrown away (through the same system pot-lid-handles-small chink). Along with this dark fluid, also the stink of the beast will go away, that acrid and persistent smell which often comes back to our olfactory senses. You can try to mask it with all sorts of oriental spices! But in the wild boar and even more in the hare, you will never remove it! The only way is that just illustrated. The more liquid you can make him bleed, the better the final result. It should produce it for three or four times, but this also depends on the freshness of the meat and its level of dehydration if it has been a long time in the freezer.

  3. When the meat is completely dry, it will tend to stick to the bottom, you can temporarily remove it from the pan, just to have time to prepare a rich fry. Clean the saucepan, pour half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, a nice mince of black and white onion, an apple (half, if the boar is under a kilo), garlic, carrot, leek, tender celery, parsley, a handful of pine nuts and some nuts in their shells .

  4. Add five or six juniper berries, a nice bunch of rosemary tied together with a bit of marjoram. Once browned over high heat, add the pieces of wild boar, still topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of red pepper. As soon as it begins to sizzle (after a few minutes), becoming fragrant brown , add a good splash of white grappa (any distillate is fine, but here we made brandy, not cognac), and stir gently until the time of wine arrives. The ideal would be to use the same wine that will be brought to the table. Important is that it is black wine! We use Ormeasco because we produce it , but you can replace it with a beautiful red long-bodied and tannic enough .

  5. Cover generously with wine all the content of the pot. Simmer uncovered for fifteen minutes, stirring periodically on high flame, then place the lid, reduce heat (the ideal would be a break-flame in aluminium or cast iron to be placed between the pot and the fire) and cook for a couple of hours, checking and stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid to reduce a little the bottom, so it does not present soupy and watery, but thick and brilliant.

  6. Add two tablespoons of quality red wine vinegar, some of the remaining juniper berries, fresh rosemary, a pinch of mountain oregano, salt and pepper. More hot red pepper, if you like it. If cooking is not enough (it should melt in the mouth), or the meat dries out too quickly because of unsuitable flame, go ahead with hot water or light vegetable broth until you reach the goal, but if you have put enough wine, do not worry too much.

  7. Once ready, it will be dark chocolate colour, lightly bound by a consistent and flavourful sauce. Served warm, it will appreciate the accompaniment of mashed potatoes and leeks, but it will fall in love with some creamy and steaming polenta. A difficult dish, for hobbyists, also a bit masochistic, but extraordinary! Let me know the results.

Bon appetite !!