Wild Boar-Tomatillo Chili

On most weekends, we haunt the hills of Anderson Valley, where we try to grow olives.  One weekend several years ago, Superwife got the notion that a perfectly good Saturday morning should be spent putting her jogging shoes one in front of the other until they took her to the top of the hill (elevation 1,100 feet).  Never one to follow another’s path, she blazed her own trail, and in so doing startled a small family of large feral pigs, who were apparently unaccustomed to seeing such energetic humans.

Though feral pigs are a few generations removed from wild boar, but they replicate like rabbits, have a taste that’s more flavorful than farm-raised pork, and can tear up acres and acres of virgin hillside as they forage.  This is an unfortunate combination of traits, as it makes them quite popular with the local hunters.  Their foraged diets make their meat a little richer and gamier than pork, a bit less so than wild boar.  Any of the three meats are acceptable here (1-2 days advance notice is usually required to obtain wild boar).  Whichever meat you use, ask your butcher to grind enough for ingredient #2, below…

INGREDIENTS (6-8 servings)

2 Tbsp olive oil 1 tsp smoked paprika
½ Lb ground wild boar 1 Bottle dark beer
1.5 Lbs wild boar shoulder, in1/2-inch dice 1.5 Lbs tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped (yes, they are oddly sticky!)
Kosher salt & fresh-ground black pepper 1/2 Cup crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 Large white onion, chopped 1 Cup chicken broth
4 Cloves garlic, minced 2 (14.5-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
2 Large Anaheim peppers, diced small Juice from ½ a lime
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced Garnish:
1 Tbsp chili powder Chopped red onions
1 Tbsp dried oregano Sour cream
2 tsp ground cumin Chopped cilantro

Procedure
Season the meat (both the shoulder and the ground portion), with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat for three or four minutes, add half the olive oil and when it shimmers, brown all the meat in two batches for 3-4 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil and sauté onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the peppers and continue for another 3-5 minutes. Return meat to pot and add a tsp salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the chili powder, cumin, oregano and smoked paprika.  Combine until the spices are evenly distributed. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the flavorful browned bits on the bottom!

Add tomatillos, crushed tomatoes and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pinto beans and continue to cook for another 45 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice, taste for seasoning adjustments, then garnish and serve!

Adapted from a recipe by Amanda Gold, San Francisco Chronicle

DSCN0419Cheers!
Dave the Wine Merchant

NOTE: This recipe was included as an insert with the October, 2009 shipment to members of my wine sampling program.  Click here for membership information.   To see additional wine pairings for this dish, try my Rhone Style Reds selections, or my collection of Zinfandels.  The spice of the chili can sometimes fight a high-alcohol wine.  Minimize this by selecting one with enough ripe fruit to balance the alcohol and to serve as a salve for heat-tenerized taste buds!

Syrah with Coca-Cola Braised Short Ribs

Luella restaurant san franciscoThe day before Leslie became Superwife, we held a rehearsal dinner at a San Francisco restaurant called Andalu, where their specialty dish – cola-braised short ribs – was among the night’s most popular dishes.  Several years later, Andalu’s founding chef, Ben Devries, left to start a restaurant named Luella, and has enjoyed great success there as well.  Ben and his wife have made Sunday nights at Luella into family nights, with a separate menu for kids, while maintaining a full menu for the parents.

About that time, Ben and his wife, enrolled their daughter in the same school our daughter attends.  So he and I sometimes find ourselves watching school events from the sidelines, as we discuss the latest trends affecting our livelihoods.

Here’s the Devries-inspired recipe for Coke-braised short ribs – a perfect pairing for Syrah (click here to view my current inventory of compatible wines for this dish).  It is simple and delicious, but it does take some time…

 

Ingredients (Serves 6)

RIBS PICKLED ONIONS
4 Lbs pork ribs 1 Red onion, halved and sliced
Salt & Pepper ¾ Cup red wine vinegar
1 Liter Coca-Cola 2 Tbsp sugar
2 Quarts Chicken Stock Water to cover

 

 

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Procedure

Preheat your oven to 400.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a deep roasting pan over high heat for three minutes, add oil and sear the meat until golden brown on all sides – about 7 minutes total. Remove the ribs from the pan and set aside.  With the pan still on high heat, add the Coke and reduce by ⅔.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return meat to the liquid, cover and put in a 400 degree oven for 2 hrs or until meat falls off the bone.

Remove from the oven and let rest, preferably overnight. Reheat in a 400 degree oven until hot.  Remove meat from the pan, place remaining sauce on stove top at medium heat and reduce until syrupy. Return ribs to sauce until ready to serve.

PICKLED RED ONIONS
Place all ingredients in sauce pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer for 5 mins.
Take off flame and let cool. To make sharper add more vinegar; to make sweeter, add more sugar.

TO SERVE:
Place ribs over a bed of mashed potatoes and top with pickled red onions.  Serve with Syrah or other Rhône-style wine.

Cheers!
Dave the Wine Merchant
Dave@SidewaysWineClub.com


Pinot Noir with Chicken in Balsamic-Cherry Sauce

I must confess to an unabashed and obvious bridge ingredient here – the savory cherry sauce evokes pinot noir better than anything except maybe cranberries.  Come to think of it, cranberries would be a good experimental substitute for the cherries – I’d try them with blueberries as well.

Ingredients
6 Boneless chicken breasts (halves)
2 Tbsp ea. – olive oil and butter
3 Shallots, minced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
½ Cup pinot noir (drinkable, but not expensive)
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup chicken stock
½ Cup heavy cream
1 Small tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ Pint (or ½ can) cherries, pitted
Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure
Place a breast (the chicken’s, not yours) between two generous layers of plastic wrap.  Using any heavy, flat item (though not flat, a rolling pin or empty wine bottle will suffice) pound the breast to half its original thickness.  Tip, wetting the plastic wrap helps prevent breakage during pounding.

Over medium high, heat a wide skillet for ~3 minutes, add the olive oil, then the butter.  When melted, sauté the chicken breasts in batches, without crowding the pan.  Sauté until just barely browned on each side (the inside should still be slightly pink at this point).  Remove to a warm oven and hold.

Add the shallots and garlic to skillet and cook 6-8 minutes or until tender.  Add wine and vinegar and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Continue to simmer rapidly until reduced to about 1/3 – ½ cup.  Add chicken stock, cream and tomato and simmer until sauce is reduced by almost half, about 5 minutes.

Add cherries to sauce and stir to warm.  After a minute or two, return the chicken and its drippings to the skillet and warm thoroughly, about another three minutes.  Add a touch of salt and a generous amount of cracked pepper.  Serve sauce over chicken.

DSCN0417Bon Appétit!
Dave the Wine Merchant

NOTE: This recipe originally appeared in materials sent to members of “My Pinot Selections” – a bi-0monthly wine sampling program.  To review wines currently in stock that will pair well with this recipe, click here.