Sunday, October 17, 2010

Celtic cooking

I once married a French girl with Breton origins. I should add that she also has a good dose of Provençal genes, surely imported long ago from Rome or any one of a dozen places on the shores of the Mediterranean. In the context of my personal genealogical research [see my monograph entitled They Sought the Last of Lands], I succeeded recently in moving back to William the Conqueror. Then I was intrigued to learn that William's paternal grandmother was Judith of Brittany [985-1017]. This young lady, who died at the age of 32, was the daughter of Conan I [927-992], duke of Brittany.

With credentials like that, one might imagine that I would know how to cook wild boars. If you're a fan of Astérix, you're aware that his joyous companion Obélix was capable of consuming voraciously several such animals, roasted on a spit, at a single setting. Well, I'm ashamed to admit that I personally have no idea whatsoever of the best way to cook wild boar. So, I'll need help in learning how to handle the following huge hunk of meat:

A local hunter shot this beast on the other side of Gamone Creek. And it's a tradition to offer a piece of the meat to neighboring land-owners. So, if ever you happened to have inherited a great wild-boar recipe from your Druidic ancestors, I would be most grateful if you were to share it with me. According to the hunter's two sons, who came along to Gamone this morning with the big hunk of meat, there are two basic approaches to cooking it: either like a roast, or in the form of a spiced stew. The problem with the first approach is that I would need to organize a dinner evening with guests to do justice to the big leg of boar. So, I think it would be wiser to aim at a stew, resulting in stocks for my deep freezer.


  1. I'm envious. Your wild boar has a good thick layer of fat! Seems a shame not to roast it :-(

  2. That's exactly what I was thinking, too. But a neighbor who had heard about this particular boar informed me that it was a big adult, and too tough for roasting. So, I decided to cut away the meat for a stew. I have a good collection of sharp knives in my kitchen, but I was incapable of using any one of them to make an impression on that thick hide, let alone cut through it. So, I simply separated the red meat from the fat and hide (which I discarded), cut it into big chunks and cooked it in red Burgundy wine for a few hours (in a pressure cooker) with carrots, turnips and potatoes. I plan to leave the half-a-dozen sealed plastic trays of stew in the freezer for a fortnight or so before tasting it… preferably on a cold evening when it's snowing outside.