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Wild boar ragu

wild boar meat

A wonderful, rich meat sauce to serve with pappardelle, pici, gnocchi or polenta. It’s usually spoken of as a wintery dish; I find it also pleasant to eat in the summer, but perhaps that’s just me. If you prefer a more tomatoey version, add a few diced tomatoes or some passata with the marinade/tomato puree mixture


Serves 4 as a main course

300g wild boar meat, cut into small cubes

100g smoked pancetta, speck or bacon, cut into small cubes

1 large onion, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

2 sticks of celery, finely diced

4 mushrooms, finely diced

a couple of dried mushrooms

a sprig of rosemary

olive oil

1 tsp Marmite (optional)

2 glasses red wine

2 tbsp tomato puree


Mix the boar meat with the red wine and leave to marinate for a few hours.


Heat the oven to 160°C. Heat some olive oil in a large, ovenproof pan over medium/high heat. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper, but retain the marinade. Brown the meat in batches and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.


Put the marinade, Marmite, tomato puree, rosemary and dried mushrooms together in a small bowl or jug, pour a little boiling water over them and stir a little.


Turn the heat down a little and add a little more olive oil to the pan. Cook the diced vegetables and pancetta until softened and just starting to catch at the edges. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine/tomato mixture. Stir to incorporate everything together. Add a little more wine if you think it is too dry. Bring to the boil and cover with a lid or foil. Put into the oven and cook for 3-5 hours, until the cubes of meat are falling-apart tender and a wonderful smell hits you when you remove the lid to have a peek.


You can eat it immediately, but it gets even better if you cool it overnight and reheat the next day. Serve with pasta, polenta or gnocchi.

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