Wild boar with prune and wine sauce

By Ann Oliver
Serves 8

extra virgin olive oil

5kg wild boar - skin off, half whole, other half chopped into pieces

Maldon sea salt

fresh black pepper

2 litres water

1kg prunes, not pitted - coarsely ground

1 head unpeeled garlic - separated into cloves

250g unsalted butter

1kg brown onions - peeled and finely chopped

200g sugar

750ml red wine

750ml chicken glaze (very reduced chicken stock)

balsamic vinegar


1 Heat a large, heavy-based frypan until very hot and splash with a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the pieces of boar and season generously, then transfer into a deep roasting dish. Repeat the process with the whole piece of boar and place it skin side up in the dish with the pieces scattered around.

2 Add 2 cups of water to the frypan and bring to the boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the prunes and the remaining water and stir well. Pour over the top of the meat and place in a preheated 180C oven.

3 Tear off a large piece of aluminium foil and place the garlic cloves in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and roll the cloves through it, then crimp the foil together and put them in the oven with the boar. Set a time for 30 minutes.

4 Clean the pan and return it to medium heat. Add the butter and when it starts to foam, add the onion and sugar and season liberally. Continue cooking the onion, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently until it begins to caramelise. Tune the heat down to very low, then continue cooking and stirring until the onion is evenly dark brown but not burnt.

5 When the timer rings, remove the garlic, but do not unwrap it.

6 Baste the boar with the sweet onion butter. Set the timer for another 30 minutes.

7 Turn the pieces of meat and pour the red wine over it. The meat may require cooking for 3½ hours, basting every 30 minutes. Less aged and hung boar may require slightly longer.

8 Transfer the meat and half the prunes to a carving dish, cover with foil and return it to the oven. Turn the oven to 60C. The meat can be held like this for at least 1 hour.

9 Drain the liquid into the onions and put the remaining half of the prunes into the pan. Open the garlic and press the softened, roasted garlic from the cloves into the pan. Add the chicken glaze and bring everything to the boil. Taste and season, then add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a little acidity to the sauce. Puree with a stick mixer and simmer just long enough to achieve a thick consistency.

10 Serve the glazed, saucy boar with green beans and boiled potatoes rolled through butter and parsley.