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Wild boar ragu w/Marcella Hazan's recipe?

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I love Marcella Hazan's ragu Bolognese recipe and make it regularly in the winter. However, I also love the wild boar ragus I've had in restaurants, where the texture of the meat is a bit more "shredded" than the Hazan recipe. Could I adapt this recipe to use wild boar instead of beef? If I cut the boar into chunks rather than grind it, will I get the texture I'm looking for?

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  1. I've made lamb ragu (Batali recipe) where you chop up the lamb into 1/2 inch cubes. It's a bit of work, but the "feel" of the chunks in your mouth is terrific and, after the slow cooking, it does have a bit of shredded feeling to it, even though the cubes remain intact. One thing that I don't know is how the fat content of the wild boar compares to that in beef. If it is leaner, you might want to add a little fatty pork.

    1. My suggestions would be to cube the boar. You should be using a fatty piece of boar that can withstand long cooking. Shredded pork is done with pork shoulder, and you should be using shoulder here, as well. Use red wine instead of white. You can spice it up with some heat.

      1. I guess I've never looked at Hazan's ragù recipe; she uses *ground* meat?! The ragù tradition I know is to cook the meat in large pieces and once it's 3/4 finished, strain, remove any bones, cube and/or shred the meat, put back together with the liquid, then finish.

        If you have no bones, you can skip the separation, and start with cubes, possibly removing and shredding if you need to near the end. But you really should start with chunks of meat at least 2 inches cubed. At least to make a ragù in the tradition I know, which sounds closer to what you're looking for.

        Oh, and you have wild boar? Yum. Don't you dare grind that! :-)

        3 Replies
        1. re: tmso

          She does call for using ground meat. I'll have to look into the concept of cooking a ragu with meat on the bone - it makes a lot of sense, and I've never heard of it before.

          1. re: MMRuth

            It's very traditional to cook large pieces of meat and use the liquid for pasta sauce and serve the meat as a main course. One of the most fabulous pasta sauces in the Roman repertoire is sugo di coda, the sauce that remains after the coda alla vaccinara has cooked in it for 4-6 hours. I believe hamburger-style ground meat is quite modern and is never seriously preferred to chopped.

            For wild boar, I would look for recipes from the Maremma, Lazio or Tuscany. If you search pappardelle al cinghiale, quite a few recipes turn up.

            1. re: mbfant

              Thanks - great information - always more to learn!

        2. Thanks everyone, I will indeed cube the boar, and depending on the cut of boar I get, may add some pork shoulder for fat. Thanks again!

          1. Just wanted to report back. I ended up getting a wild boar shoulder, cut it into 2 inch or so cubes and used Marcella Hazan's recipe, replacing the white wine with red. After simmering for about 4 or 5 hours, I pulled out the cubes of meat, shredded them and mixed it back into the sauce. I ate it with pappardelle and some freshly grated grana padano. Just one word: yum.

            Thanks for all the advice!