Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wild Boar Meatballs!

I've had wild boar a few times on vacation, but this was my first time cooking it.  I figured meatballs were a good safe way to start.  My plan was to buy some ground wild boar, but the store only had wild boar mini-roasts. But, I was determined to make meatballs.  In addition this being my first attempt at cooking wild boar, it was also my first time grinding my own meat.  So much for a meal that didn't involve a lot of work! These meatballs freeze very well.  I made the entire recipe and froze most of them after I baked them in the oven.  The sauce freezes well too! To reheat, I put the frozen sauce in a pot over medium-low heat until it was liquid again and then added the frozen meatballs and cooked them in the sauce until they were heated through.  About 30 minutes.  The sauce is simple and very flavorful. I don't think it would be as good with tomatoes other than San Marzanos.

I made a few slight changes to the recipe. The original recipe only used the cheese for a topping, I went ahead and put it in the meatball mix. To make the sauce less watery, I squeezed the juice out of each tomato and crushed them a little by hand.  I also removed the white stringy bit from the center of each.  An entire recipe of meatballs made three meals for two people.  I used bucatini in this picture, but used regular spaghetti for the other two meals.  The bucatini was interesting, but I don't see the point in buying it unless it's something you use regularly. I used panko instead of breadcrumbs.  I used a little extra butter because this tomato sauce recipe inspired me to always add extra butter. :P I used two tablespoons.

Spicy Bucatini with Wild Boar Meatballs
Makes about 25 meatballs
Slightly adapted from Adesina's Kitchen

3 lbs. ground wild boar
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup grated locatelli (a type of pecorino romano cheese.  Use regular pecorino romano if you can't find locatelli).
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup panko
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbs dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 large cans of whole san marzano tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt to taste
handful of torn basil leaves
1 tbs olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb bucatini or spaghetti

1) Preheat oven to 450°.  In a large bowl, mix the meat, onion, cheese, garlic, parsley, eggs, panko, salt, pepper and oregano until well incorporated. 
2)Wet your hands and form large-ish round balls - between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of meat per ball, depending on how large you want them.  Place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
3) Make the sauce: squeeze each tomato to get some of the juice out and then crush into a pot.  Remove the white stringy part from the center of each tomato. Add the garlic, chicken stock and salt and stir. 
4) Add the meatballs and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer if the sauce looks too watery.  When the meatballs are just about finished, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Toss with a cup or two of the meatball sauce, olive oil and butter. 
5) Toss the basil leaves in the hot pasta to wilt and top with some of the meatballs.  Serve with lots of grated cheese and extra crushed red pepper.

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