Wild boar stew with harissa and cherry tomatoes
José Souto returns to the Czech Republic for another memorable boar hunt, which inspires the recipe for this delicious harissa-spiced stew. Serves six to eight.
Wild boar stew
- 50ml olive oil
- 1.5kg boar haunch, cut into 1.5cm dice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika picante or chilli powder
- 3 tbsp harissa paste
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 250ml chicken stock
- 600ml passata
- 100g raisins or sultanas
- 2 bunches cherry tomatoes
- 250g yoghurt
- 2 tsp fresh coriander
- Heat the oil in a deep, wide pan until it’s smoking hot. Season the boar with salt and pepper, then fry it off in small batches so the meat seals quickly without cooking through. Remove the meat and leave to one side.
- Turn the heat down and add more oil to the same pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook without colour for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chilli powder and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the harissa paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, then the tomato purée, stirring well and taking care that it doesn’t burn. Return the meat to the pan and mix well so it is well coated in harissa.
- Pour the boiling stock and passata into the pan, making sure to bring it all to a boil before turning the heat down to a rolling simmer.
- Allow the stew to cook over the stove — or covered in an oven at 160°C/Gas Mark 3 — for 90 minutes or until the meat is tender. Then add the cherry tomatoes and sultanas, returning to the stove or oven for a further 30 minutes.
- Serve the stew with a dollop of yoghurt and chopped coriander.
Inspiration for this wild boar stew recipe
Some of you may have read about my first-ever boar hunt in the Czech Republic, using Google Translate to help me communicate with my guide (European stalking with added spice, 11 January). For those of you who didn’t, let’s just say it did not go as I had expected and we ended up jumping out of the way of a group of startled pigs that rushed us. (Read more on wild boar in the UK.)
In February I returned to the Czech Republic and, again, I chose to get out stalking boar and mouflon. I wanted to stalk on foot but after the first two outings, seeing plenty of animals but not being able to get anywhere near them, my host told me I was making it difficult for myself and I should take up residence in one of the many high towers. I don’t know if it’s just me but I would much rather stalk; I get bored in high seats and towers and so avoid them if I can.
Nevertheless, I persisted. The following two days were fruitful and I got two good mouflon. The boar, on the other hand, were more elusive. Every night we saw groups in the woods, mostly females with young; adult males tend to be away from the main groups. On the third night we came to a steep wooded hillside. The trees here were chestnuts and the boar loved the bounty that fell from them. We spotted two groups of females and young making a lot of noise as they turned over rocks in search of food.
As we watched them, suddenly one group stopped eating, made a few grunting noises and trotted away quickly before stopping. All seemed to be looking in one direction. After a few minutes, we saw a large male approach. As it came into range, I took it with a chest shot that knocked it off its feet. It rolled down the hill closer to where we were, stopped and got up, so I took a head shot to finish it off. In all, it was 65kg of pure muscle with a large head, a set of impressive tusks and a thick, wiry coat. It was another boar hunt I will never forget.