Wild Boar Chops with Juniper, Apples, and Sage
I was super excited to try boar for the first time! And a little nervous, to be honest, because I’m not generally very adventurous when it comes to food. But mostly excited!
The first task was to make a brine – my first time making this as well!
Turns out that was less exciting…brine is basically salt water.
The water and salt were boiled over the stove with some crushed juniper berries, black peppercorns, and a bay leaf to add some light flavor. Once the salt was dissolved, cool water and crushed garlic were added as well.
The boar chops were placed in a pan and covered with the brine. I had to mix together about 4 more cups of water and salt to have enough to cover the chops completely.
And then they just sit in the brine for 30 minutes to 4 hours. I pulled them out after about 45 minutes.
I dried off the chops, browned them over the stove, and then popped them in the oven to finish cooking.
While the chops cooked in the oven, the sauce and side dish were made.
First, the broth, apple cider, and dijon mustard were mixed together. Note that it says apple cider and NOT apple cider vinegar, like I originally thought – that mix-up meant a last-minute dash out the door for my husband.
Second, the apples were cooked over the stove, using the same pan that the chops were cooked in. They were then removed and set aside.
Next, the onions and sage were cooked in the same pan again. They were removed and combined with the apples (though this seems to have been missed in the instructions, where they jump from “remove onion” to there suddenly being an “apple-onion mixture”).
Finally, the broth/dijon mixture is used to deglaze the pan. The mixture is simmered until it’s about half its volume.
The chops were removed from the oven and served with apple-onion mixture and mustard sauce.
And y’know what? Boar tastes almost exactly like pork, so there was no reason to be nervous at all.
My husband has actually had boar before, and he said this was much better than the boar he’s had in the past. Apparently it’s usually really tough, but I think the brine helped to soften the meat here. It added a nice salty taste, as well.
And I actually preferred the apple-onion mixture to the boar itself. It tasted more like onion than apple, but the apple does add a bit of sweetness.
The recipe was mostly simple and straightforward to make, but there are a lot of different steps and you will need to multitask a bit on this one.
And actually, I found the boar chops were a bit difficult to eat…maybe that’s why it’s not a very popular meal! There is bone almost completely surrounding the meat, so it can be tricky to get it all.
The most expensive parts of this dish are the boar rib chops and the juniper berries. I had to order the berries off of Amazon, because they weren’t available at my local grocery stores. And for the boar I had to drive two cities over to a butcher who specializes in “exotic” meats.
You may also need to purchase chicken broth, apple cider, Dijon mustard, an apple, a sweet onion, sage, and/or a bay leaf.