Unusual foods can add such a festive air to gatherings. Wild boar sounds exotic but it actually has a lovely, mellow flavour that lends itself well to all kinds of preparation. We are fortunate in the national capital region to have access to great boar thanks to the hardworking people at Trillium Meadows Red Deer and Wild Boar Farm; you can buy directly from them or find them at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. While you can easily braise or grill up boar loin medallions, smoking them gives them a subtle extra flavour kick that is sure to make a big impression. A nice sauce on the side rounds out the presentation; prepared chutney would be fine but this zesty tomato version is easy to make and complements the boar perfectly.
For the boar
- 4 small wild boar tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) crushed juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
For the heirloom tomato chutney
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL0 whole coriander seeds, crushed
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced sweet onions
- 1/4 cup (62 mL) red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup (62 mL) cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced heirloom tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) pepper
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) honey
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL0 hot sauce such as Camille Desjardins’ Peach Vidalia
- 24 hours before serving, put the boar tenderloins in a sturdy plastic bag.
- In a small bowl, combine the juniper, rosemary, garlic, maple syrup and salt.
- Drizzle the spice mixture over the boar. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
- When ready to smoke the boar, prepare a large packet of wood chips. Soak the chips in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, then drain and put the chips on a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Fold up the sides and ends to make a packet. With a sharp knife, cut 1 cm holes all over the top of the packet.
- Lay the wood chip packet on top of the burner on your gas barbeque. Preheat grill to 400F until you see the wood chips just beginning to smoke.
- While the wood chips are heating, start to prepare the chutney. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the crushed coriander seeds and sauté, stirring, for 1 – 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add the vinegars, then the tomatoes, salt, pepper and honey.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat (make sure it maintains a gentle boil to promote evaporation) for about 25 – 30 minutes.
- Once the packet of chips is smoking, reduce the barbeque’s heat to 300F, wait a couple of minutes for grill to cool slightly, then place the boar on the grill, over indirect heat.
- Keeping the barbeque as close to 300F as you can, smoke the boar until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F (about 25 – 35 minutes). Keep the lid closed as much as possible during this time so the smoke stays trapped. Flip the boar medallions once or twice during smoking.
- Check the chutney to be sure it has thickened nicely and add hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preference.
- Once the boar has reached the desired temperature, remove from grill and let stand 5 minutes.
- Slice boar very thinly across the grain and serve with heirloom tomato chutney.
Serves 6 – 8 as an appetizer.