We enjoyed this roast last Sunday – a couple of days before the whole furore over whether red meat is or is not dangerous to consume was proposed by the World Health Organisaiton. Obviously the wise-guys in the WHO do not follow Master in the Kitchen’s mantra : “tried by time tested by generations” and if there is one thing that mankind has been eating for generations it is red meat. When given the option to make something like this I suspect most of us are prepared to take the risk! Unlike grain-fed, domesticated pigs, the meat of a wild boar is redder though no less delectable.
The enzymes and wild microorganisms found in the sauerkraut we ate alongside this dish helped us digest the cooked meat. I also prepared a sour-cream and brined gherkin sauce, also packed with LABs and enzymes, which blended in delightfully with the overall meal. My red currant jam from June was another treat that acted as natural companion to the other foods on the plate. The WHO never tells you to enjoy wild ferments alongside cooked meat as traditional societies did. Pity.
Given the price of wild boar this is not going to grace everyone’s plate everyday. Nor should it. Wild boar is far too precious to ever become a mass market commodity. On the few occasions that one is lucky enough to cook, prepare and consume this noble animal it should be enjoyed, appreciated and worshiped for the sacrifice it made. I guess this approach ticks the WHO diktat that red meat should be eaten sparingly.
For the roast
1 tsp. of red peppers.
1 tsp. of ground cumin.
1 tsp. of juniper berries.
1 tsp. of goose fat.
1 heaped tsp. of mustard.
Some apple cider vinegar.
Some olive oil.
Salt & Pepper.
*None of these ingredients are set in stone – replace red pepper with black pepper or cumin with caraway, apple cider vinegar with balsamic or plain white vinegar if you feel like it! Your meal – your call.
Wash and pat the meat dry with some kitchen towel. Sprinkle the meat with sea salt & with some ground pepper. Rub into the meat by hand. Pulse the red peppers, cumin, juniper berries, mustard, vinegar, goose fat and olive oil in a blender. Coat the meat in the paste.
Place the meat in a baking tray and drizzle some olive oil over the meat. The cut I bought was tender so the purpose of the paste was not to soften and relax a sinewy, tough cut. I did, however, leave the meat to rest for a couple of hours so that the flavours would penetrate the meat and relax it before being roasted.
When you are happy that it has rested long enough place the roast in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for roughly 45 minutes. After you have removed the meat from the oven leave it to rest for approx. ten minutes before carving into slices. You can reserve the juices to make a gravy or just drizzle some of the juices over the meat, as they do in France. It gives a more concentrated burst of abundant flavours.
For the mashed swede
Rutabagas, known as swedes in much of the world, are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, and a good source of fibre, thiamine, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.. Food Facts, Dr Mercola
Salt & pepper.
Although Mercola points out that swedes (rutabaga in the US) are an excellent source of vitamin c they would have to be eaten raw or fermented before the eater can benefit from this nutrient. If you boil or roast swede most of the vitamin c will be destroyed by the heat. It is my understanding, however, that the remaining nutrients namely potassium, manganese, fibre, thiamine, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus remain in tact. The addition of the goose fat will not only add flavour it will allow these nutrients to be more easily absorbed than if there were no fat accompanying the vegetable.
The nutritional qualities of the swede – and the fact that I’d only paid EUR 1 for the swede – kept me going even if the peeling and cutting was tough going!
You can either boil the swede or you can roast it. Either way it can take a long time for the swede to relax and become softer – far longer than potatoes or other root vegetables. So be prepared to wait a while.
I roasted mine. First I cut the swede into slices – quite tough so be careful handling the kitchen knife! I then added some goose fat and olive oil, sprinkled it was salt & pepper and placed some thyme and marjoram on top. If you have some good stock to hand use some of this – it will add bags of savouriness to the final mash.
It took a good hour for the swede to soften. When it was ready I removed the stalks from the thyme and marjoram, placed the roasted slices in a blender, added some milk and butter and blended the whole into a purée.
For the red cabbage
One whole cabbage may seem like a lot but I freeze any extra portions. Alternatively if you’re just making this for a small number of people see if you can buy half or a quarter from the green-grocer.
1 red onion. (Or any onion if you don’t have a red one).
Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
Salt & pepper.
Cut the cabbage into quarters. With a mandolin grate the cabbage into thin stripes – it goes surprisingly quickly. If you have a food processor use that – it will go even quicker but you may have more washing-up.
In a large pot heat up some clarified butter and fry the red onions. You can use butter – but it will burn quicker so keep the temperature lower if using butter. Start adding the shredded red cabbage. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Stir into the mixture. Add a good dash of the vinegar. Go easy – taste it to see if the level of tanginess is to your liking. Add 1-2 TBS. of dark brown muscovado sugar. Add the star anise and cloves.
Add around 1 cm of water to the bottom of the pot so that the bottom doesn’t burn. The purpose is not to drown the red cabbage in water – rather to prevent the bottom from burning. Place a lid on top and leave to braise on a medium heat for 45-60 minutes. Any longer and the colour will begin to drain out of the cabbage and it will taste more washed out.