So, now that it has been over a month since the first part of this post (a month full of Thanksgiving, grad school papers, lesson planning, and Christmas preparations), I guess I need to wrap things up.
After discussing the slow-cooker-crack situation with a friend who is an engineer, it has been decided that the slow cooker insert should have never been placed on the stovetop. This is where I was hoping I could include a quote from my engineer friend, but with his busy holiday schedule, I just have two words: differential heating. The ceramic insert did not heat evenly, so it cracked where the hot part met the cold part. It’s science.
Onto more exciting things . . . There is a husband-“enforced” rule in my household that states, “With each new kitchen item that enters the kitchen, another kitchen item must leave.” Apparently, my husband thinks, we have too many kitchen gadgets and appliances. Well, the cracking of the slow cooker insert opened the window for a new purchase. We quickly decided that I would not be able to get a new insert right away, so to save the meal, I would need to purchase a dutch oven large enough to accommodate the ingredients for the ragù. The first thought was, my dream, a lovely Le Creuset. However, with the nearly $3oo price tag, that was not an option. I told Brandon that I had seen an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they tested cast-iron dutch ovens and came out with a comparable brand: Lodge. He quickly got online and found one place in the city that sells Lodge dutch ovens, and I raced out to purchase one.
It’s beautiful. In all of its cherry red beauty, it really is as aesthetically-pleasing as the French brand. Not to mention, it cost $90.
After the meat was falling apart and super tender, I took the ragù off the heat and finished it with a couple of tablespoons of butter (just to give it that lovely glisten). I prepared some homemade potato gnocchi I had in the freezer, and I plated the ragù over the gnocchi with a little parsley on top.
In short, the ragù was heavenly. The boar had so much flavor and just melted in your mouth. It was exactly what I was hoping for in this autumnal dish, and Brandon and I enjoyed every bite.
Wild Boar Ragù (adapted from William-Sonoma’s Pork Ragù)
- 2 lb. boneless wild boar shoulder roast, quartered
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 3/4 cup diced bacon
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1 3/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
- 3 Tbs. red wine demi-glace
- 3 Tbs. tomato paste
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3/4 lb. potato gnocchi, cooked al dente
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Season the boar with salt and pepper. Dredge the boar in the flour, shaking off the excess. In an 8-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the boar on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the pork to a platter.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the bacon to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, demi-glace, tomato paste, wine and broth to the dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Add the boar, bacon mixture, and mushrooms, and turn heat to low. Cover and cook until the boar is very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Take dutch oven off the heat and stir in butter.
- Top gnocchi with ragù and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.