Wild Boar Casserole with Chicken Livers, Juniper and Ginger

Many butchers now stock wild boar. Truly wild boar has been extinct in the British Isles for 400 years but it can still be found in other European countries. However, it is now farmed here, hence the availability.

If you cannot find boar you can easily substitute stewing pork or even lamb in this recipe. The addition of chicken livers for the last part of the cooking adds a soft richness to the flavourful sauce. I serve this with new potatoes tossed in olive oil and plenty of chopped spring onions and fresh dill.

Ingredients

  • 1.1 kg/ lb wild boar
  • 225 g/8 oz large flat or chestnut mushrooms
  • 450 g/1 lb ripe tomatoes, the plum variety if available
  • 1 rounded teaspoon juniper berries
  • 2 good sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 5 cm/2 in piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 400 g/14 oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
  • 350 g/12 oz chicken livers
  • bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Cut the meat into roughly 2.5cm/1in pieces. Chop the mushrooms up finely, including the stalks — you can do this in a food processor if you like. Put the fresh tomatoes in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for about 2 minutes, then drain, peel and chop roughly. Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar. Pull the rosemary spikes off their stems. Peel the garlic and ginger and cut up roughly, then chop the rosemary, garlic and ginger together finely.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a very large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and stir around for a minute or so, then add the chopped fresh tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, ginger and juniper berries. Stir around over the heat for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and mushy, then stir in the tinned tomatoes and the orange rind and juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the wild boar and cover the casserole. Bring to boiling point, then put in the oven and cook for about 1½ hours, until the meat is tender. Remove from the oven and stir in the chicken livers. Bring back to simmering point on top of the stove, then transfer to the oven again and cook for another 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

If you like, you can keep the casserole warm at the lowest possible oven temperature for an hour or two before eating. Then roughly chop the parsley and stir it in just before serving.