Wild boar in chocolate sauce

Wild boar in chocolate sauce

Cinghiale in dolce - forte

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
4
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

A truly age-old Maremman dish, this is one of Tuscany’s most famous. One bite of this luscious, dark, sweet and sour stew and there is no mistaking that it was plucked out of the Renaissance, mostly unchanged. Some say that it crept into the province of Grosseto from the border of the province of Siena, where the sweet and peppery Christmas treat panforte is well known. In fact, the lingering sweet flavours of this dish are reminiscent of those of panforte.

This recipe, which is inspired by Pellegrino Artusi’s, begins with a very simple stew, where the wild boar simmers, softening, for a couple of hours. Right before serving, the ‘dolce-forte’ is added to the pot, completely transforming it: a mixture of sultanas, pine nuts, candied fruit peel, sugar, vinegar and the darkest chocolate you can find. Like Cinghiale in Umido, you can serve this with something starchy: mashed potatoes, soft polenta or a nice crusty loaf of Tuscan bread to mop up the sauce. The Sformato di Cipollotti would be a nice side dish, too.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1kg wild boar, cut into 4 cm cubes
2 teaspoons plain flour
250ml red wine
1 litre beef stock, (or water)
40g sultanas
30g pine nuts
30g candied fruit peel, (orange or citron)
40g sugar
40g dark chocolate, (80% cocoa)
60ml red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Pour the olive oil in a casserole pot and cook the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves over low–medium heat until the vegetables are softened but not coloured, about 10 minutes. Add the meat to the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and let it colour on all sides evenly, a further 10 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and toss through the mixture. Let it cook for 2 minutes, then add the red wine, turn the heat up to medium–high and let it reduce until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10–15 minutes. Add stock (or water) to cover and bring the stew to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours (but it could take up to 3 hours depending on the meat). Check occasionally, and top up with water as needed.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the ‘dolce-forte’ sauce. Mix the sultanas, pine nuts, candied peel, sugar, chocolate and red wine vinegar in a small saucepan and put over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture well combined. Remove from the heat and set aside (it is good to do this at least 1 hour before you need it).
  4. When the meat is tender, turn the heat up to medium to reduce the sauce until it is thick (if it isn’t already). Add the dolce-forte sauce and combine, letting the stew come back to the boil. Remove from the heat and serve.

Note

  • Because this thick and silky stew has such a rich flavour, you could halve this recipe to easily serve four smaller portions, especially if you plan on eating it as a main following several other dishes in a long, drawn-out special occasion meal. If it’s the only dish, make the whole thing. If there are leftovers, that’s good news – they will probably taste better than the original dish. It freezes well, too.

Variations

  • You can make this with wild hare or venison instead of wild boar.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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