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|
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
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!