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Wild Boar Beans

by Gill Meller from Glorious Game - Recipes from 101 chefs and food writers

Compiled by Ben Tish (Face Publications)

This hugely pleasing combination of rich gamey boar and light delicate beans is cooked gently for hours, until the beans are breaking up and the meat is fork-tender. It’s the kind of all-in-one supper to cook on a cold wintry night when complete sustenance is required. Mustard and molasses give the boar a dark, sweet flavour I really like. If you can’t lay your hands on boar, use pork instead. You could make this dish a day or two in advance as it will only improve with age.

*For Nigel's Veggie Version - scroll to the bottom of this page.

Nigel's notes

This is a proper rib sticker for this time of year. There's a nice cowboy element to this dish and the joy of it is that you can make it a day or two in advance. I cooked this long and slow, don't be tempted to pump up the oven too high. The low heat and slowness allows the meat to tenderise. I couldn't find dried cannellini beans so used 3 x 400g tins, cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, I added them to the pan after 1 1/2 hours cooking. I served it with some broccoli and winter greens. Many thanks to Ballinwillin House for the delicious wild boar belly.

Serves 4

Paste Ingredients - (Use this paste recipe for Nigel's Hearty Winter Veggie Swap, see below)

30g soft brown sugar

4 tsps crushed coriander seeds

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Remaining Ingredients

1.5kg wild boar belly

200g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in water

3-4 sprigs thyme

2 large sprigs rosemary

4 bay leaves

1 garlic bulb, halved around it's circumference

1.2 litres pork or chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper


For the wild boar, heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.

Mix the sugar, coriander seeds, smoked paprika, tomato purée and mustard together into a thick paste.

Rub all over the boar and set aside.

For the beans, drain the soaked beans and place them in a large, deep roasting tray, big enough to hold the boar, too.

Add the thyme, rosemary and bay along with the garlic and stock and give it a shake.

Arrange the boar, belly down, into the beans and cover loosely with a sheet of greaseproof paper, or foil.

Place the roasting tray in the oven and cook the boar for 21/2 to 3 hours, or until all the stock has been taken up by the beans and the boar is lovely and tender. (You’ll need to give everything a stir once or twice during cooking.) Taste the beans: they will need generously seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve with good bread, wine and a sharply dressed green salad.

Nigel's Hearty Winter Veggie Swap

Simon Mayo is a veggie lover, so I thought I would give him a version of the Wild Boar recipe, minus the wild boar. It was a great test drive and everyone loved this version in the studio.

Zero Waste

As you all know I'm a great 'user upper' of all things and very rarely throw away fruits and veggies. So I encourage you to do the same thing and get used to using up what you've got lurking at the back of your fridge.

Nigel's Winter Veggie Swap

Chop up whatever winter veg you have in the fridge. For this recipe I used, peppers, parsnips, carrots, fennel (around 750g, peeled chopped weight). I chopped it up into similar sizes as the cannellini beans. So quite smallish,.

Tip the chopped vegetables into a large ceramic oven proof baking dish, along with a drained tin of Cannellini beans. Add 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, along with around 500g vegetable stock.

Season and add 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved. Spoon the paste from the main wild boar recipe (see above). Cover the dish and cook at 200oC for about 40-45 minutes. Give it a stir half way cooking and remove the cover for the remaining time of cooking. . Serve in bowls with some fresh crusty sough dough. I like to drizzle a little virgin olive oil and good balsamic vinegar to add a bit of oomph to each bowl before serving.

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