Wild Boar al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Its TACO TUESDAY this month on Wilderness to Table. And that means I'll be bringing you a new wild game taco recipe every Tuesday for the month of March!!

Tacos may be the best dish ever! I mean who does not like a killer taco? If you said no, then you can probably skip to the previous blog post now!

The best tacos I EVER had, in my life, were from the only gas station in a town called Pescadero in Northern California. Talk about the dreamiest tacos ever! I would drive hundreds of miles all over, just to eat those tacos. But since Georgia is quite a ways from California, I have to make do by making them myself. So these tacos are an ode to my favorite ones from that tiny little gas station.

Wild Boar al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple Habanero Salsa

By: Chef Bri for Wilderness to Table

 

Ingredients:

·      1- White Onion, diced

·      1 Cup Pineapple Juice

·      ½ Cup Orange Juice

·      ¼ Cup Distilled White Vinegar

·      ¼ Cup Guajillo Chile Powder

·      ¼ Cup Sugar

·      4 Garlic Cloves, chopped

·      2 tsp. Dried Mexican Oregano

·      2 tsp. Cumin, ground

·      2 Chipotle Peppers and 1 TBS adobo from canned chipotle chilies in adobo

·      5 TBS- Kosher Salt

·      3 Pounds Boneless Wild Boar Shoulder

·      1- Pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into rings

·      1-Red Onion, finely diced

·      2-Habanero Chiles, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped

·      ¼ Cup Fresh Mint, chopped

·      3 TBS Fresh Lime Juice

·      16 Corn Tortillas

Directions:

Combine the onion, pineapple juice, orange juice, distilled white vinegar, chile powder, sugar, garlic, oregano, cumin, chipotle peppers with sauce, salt in the bowl of a crock-pot add the pork and cook on low temperature for 8 hours. Or seal all ingredients in vacuum seal bag and cook sous vide for 8 hours at 158F/70C. Once cooked, shred the meat using 2 forks. Place into a bowl and top the meat with the marinade it cooked in.

Pineapple Habanero Salsa:

Start by grilling the pineapple rings on a grill pan or hot grill. Grill till there are nice grill marks on both sides. Then dice the rings into small pieces. In a bowl combine the diced pineapple, red onion, habanero chilies, mint and lime juice. Stir together and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.

To Serve:

Gently oil a BBQ and slightly char the tortillas. Then fill the tortillas with the wild boar al pastor and top with the pineapple habanero salsa. 

 

 

Wild Boar Green Chili Tamales

Tamales are a holiday staple in our house. Growing up we ate tamales every Christmas morning... and all day. We even have Tamale Parties where we all get together, gather around the kitchen island and create a tamale factory. Except your allowed to drink on the job! ;-)

So I make tamales every year, except I make a bunch of them to have in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year instead. Not sure why I don't make these during other times of the year? Guess have a summer tamale party is just not the same! LOL!

As with everything I make, I tend to always use my hunting wild game. It a common thing for people to come over to my house and ask what animal they are eating! Ha! Ha! Ha! So these tamales are made with Wild Boar! And I think they are even better than traditional pork.

Green Chili Wild Boar Tamales:

  • 4 medium poblano peppers

  • 1 medium jalapeño

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, washed, and halved

  • 3 mediums cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

  • 1 cup packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock 

  • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime

  • Kosher salt

  • Sugar, to taste (about 1 TBS.)

  • 4 cups shredded Wild Boar (I cook mine in a crock pot with chicken stock, onions, carrots and garlic for 12 hours)

  • 1.5# Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded

  • Tamale Dough

  • 3+ Dozen Corn Husks soaked in water for 1 hour

  • Salsa Verde (I usually buy the large cans from the Hispanic market)

  1. Roast poblanos and jalapeño peppers directly over the flame of a gas stove, until skin is completely charred and blackened all over. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until cool enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Using paper towels, run off charred skins, then stem and seed peppers. Transfer to the jar of a blender and set aside.

  2. Pre-heat a broiler. Then place the tomatillos on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Broil until tomatillos have charred and softened, around 10 minutes. Transfer to blender with peppers, along with any liquid in the pan.

  3. Add garlic, cilantro, chicken stock and lime juice and puree until smooth. Transfer salsa to a large bowl and season with salt and sugar to taste. Stir in shredded boar and set aside.

  4. Working one at a time, place a corn husk on work surface. Place 2-3 tablespoons of tamale dough on larger end of husk and spread into a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of husk. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in a line down center of dough.  And top the filling with Pepper Jack Cheese.Fold over sides of husk so dough surrounds filling, then fold bottom of husk up and secure closed by tying a thin strip of husk around tamale. Repeat with remaining husks, dough, and filling.

  5. Fill a large steam pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Rest tamales upright in the steamer. Cover and steam until dough is cooked through, about 1 hour. Remove tamales from steamer and let rest until dough firms up, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with salsa verde or store in refrigerator for up to a week or freeze. Defrost and reheat tamales in steamer until warmed through.

Tamale Dough:

  • 3 Cups Masa Harina
  • 2 Cups Chicken stock
  • 8 ounces of Lard
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock

In a bowl combine the Masa Harina with the first amount of chicken stock. Let this mixture sit for 15 minutes.

Then add the lard, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the lard for about 4 minutes on medium. Then add the masa marina mixture, continue to beat the mixture together. The masa should have a spreadable texture but not runny. If you need to adjust the texture add the extra chicken stock 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture has the same consistency as hummus.

Wild Boar Quesadilla

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Mexican food is hands down one of my most favorite foods. And with the holidays tamales are always made to be eaten on Christmas day. This year, I made Green Chili Wild Boar Tamales with Chili Verde Sauce (recipe coming soon). I took a wild boar roast and cooked in slowly for 12 hours in the crock pot till is was so tender it took zero effort to shred. I had extra meat left over and my husbands first response was "are you going to make those quesadillas again like last year?" Last year I quickly threw together a random quesadilla with left over tamale meat for a quick meal for my hubby. Turns out, I now must always allow for extra meat to be had after tamale making. 

These quesadillas are super easy to make. But often times the simplest dishes turn out to be the best ones. To make these beauties I take onions and bell peppers and sauté them on high heat to get them browned on the edges like fajitas. Then I reheat the meat with a little oil till its nice and hot. I like to make my quesadillas crunchy on the outside, its what I used to do when I was working in restaurants as well. So I take a non-stick pan and add about 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan, and set the heat to high. Then I drop in the tortilla and bring the temperature down to about medium. Then I assemble the quesadilla in the pan. Watch the short clip below to see how I do it!

Being a Chef Im always looking for ways to include more flavors into a dish. So I like to serve my quesadillas with Sriracha Roasted Garlic Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, fresh Avocado and Cilantro.

The Ultimate Wild Boar Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 4-Flour Tortillas
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, sliced and sautéed 
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced and sautéed 
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced and sautéed 
  • 1 cup Wild Boar meat, shredded (my recipe coming soon)
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 TBS Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp Roasted Garlic Paste
  • Pico de Gallo
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • Cilantro, chopped

In a non-stick skillet add 2-3 TBS of vegetable oil to the pan. Put the pan on high heat, heat the pan till nice and hot. Then place 1 flour tortilla down in the pan. Drop the heat to medium. Then top the tortilla with some of the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Let the cheeses melt slightly, then add some peppers, onions and wild boar meat. Let cook for about 1 minute or until the cheese is nicely melted and the tortilla is a nice golden brown color. Then with a spatula take one side of the tortilla and fold in in half while in the pan. Then remove the quesadilla from the pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and ingredients.

For the Sriracha Sour Cream:

Combine the Sriracha, roasted garlic paste and sour cream in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Let set in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

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Wild Boar Steamed Buns with Ssamjang Sauce

I have an affinity towards Asian Flavors... that and Tacos! I love incorporating as much Asian flavorings as I can in a meal. Here in my small town in Georgia, its not always easy to get some of the Asian ingredients that I became used to getting in California, but thank goodness for Amazon! Right? I know your probably an Amazon junkie just like I am! Any who, I took a 4# Wild Boar Boneless Shoulder, slow cooked in it my crock pot for 24 hours. Yes, Chefs are allowed to use Crock Pots as well! I placed about 4 pieces of Benton's Bacon on the bottom of the Crock Pot. (If you don't know what Benton's Bacon is, then you are totally missing out, its only the BEST Bacon in the WORLD! So click HERE to find out more on Bentons.) Then I place the Boar shoulder on top, seasoned it with salt and pepper, then filled the pot about half way with homemade chicken stock. Then I added in 2 chopped onions and about 3 carrots peeled and chopped as well. I kept my flavors simple on the boar so that I could use it for more than one meal. Which is a very handy tip when cooking large pieces of meat! That way you can make and Asian dish one night and maybe a BBQ dish the next night. And your not committed to having the same dish for the next 4-5 days.

The next day when my boar was still cooking I went ahead and made some Chinese Steamed Buns. These steamed buns are light and fluffy, with a slight chewy texture. They really make the ingredients inside them shine. These will take you awhile to make, but you can also freeze the ones you don't use.  The process is not cosmic to make these, they just take time because of the yeast. But I recommend putting in the effort, because these are perfect with BBQ as well! If you want to change up the flavorings of these buns, make the pork the same way, and try topping them with Kimchi or BBQ Sauce!

Chinese Steamed Buns:

  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1.5 tsp. Instant Yeast
  • 1 TBS. Vegetable Oil
  • 3TBS Sugar
  • 4 TBS Milk Powder
  • 3 Cups White Lily All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Grape Seed Oil 

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the water and the yeast in the bowl. Let the mixture set for about 5 minutes till the yeast is bubbly. Then place the rest of the ingredients into the bowl, the vegetable oil, sugar, milk powder, flour, salt and baking power. Then using the dough hook for the mixer, place the bowl on the mixer and mix on the lowest speed possible for about 10 minutes. The dough will come together nicely. 

Once the dough is done kneading, take the dough out and place it in a mixing bowl that has been slightly oiled. Cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for about 1 hour and 20 min. To help the yeast out, I slightly preheat my oven to the lowest setting, then turn it off about half way through the pre-heat. Then I place the mixing bowl with the dough in the slightly warm and dry oven to proof.

Once the dough has done its first proof. Punch the dough down and place on a clean work surface. Divided the dough into 4 equal pieces. Then roll those pieces into a log. Then proceed to cut little pieces off the log, they should be about 25-30 grams each in weight. Roll them into a ball and place them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Covet them with plastic wrap and let them rise for about 30 more minutes. 

Once they have gone through their second proof. Keeping the rest of the dough balls cover in plastic wrap, take a dough ball and roll it out into an oval about 4 inches tall. Brush the dough with a little bit of Grape Seed oil. Then take a chopstick and gently lay it in the middle of the oval, wrap the other side of the dough over the chopstick so that you make a little sandwich. Then place the dough on another sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Remove the the chopstick once the dough has been placed on the sheet tray and cover with a clean dish towel. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough balls. Let them rise one last time for about 30 minutes. 

Once the dough has gone through its final proofing, they are ready to be steamed. Using a Steam basket, line the basket with parchment circles. Place about 5 buns on each steam rack, depending on how big your steam basket is. Steam the buns for about 8-10 minutes each. Repeat till all the buns are steamed.

Wild Boar Shoulder:

  • 4 # Wild Boar Shoulder, Boneless
  • 4 Pieces of Benton's Bacon
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • Chicken Stock, as needed

In the bowl of a crock pot, place the bacon strips on the bottom, then place the boar on top. Season the boar with salt and pepper. Add the onions and carrots to the bowl and fill half way up with chicken stock. Cook on low for 24 hours. Once the boar is done, drain the liquid and shred the boar meat.

Ssamjang Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Sherry Vinegar
  • 3 TBS Ssamjang 
  • 2 TBS Gochujang 

In a bowl whisk all the ingredients together! You will have plenty for left overs!

To Serve:

  • 1 Head Napa Cabbage, sliced thin
  • 4 Green Onions, sliced

To serve, fill the warm steamed buns with some of the pork, top with the sliced cabbage and green onions and finish with a generous helping of the Ssamjang Sauce!!

Then be prepared for the Wild Boar Steamed Buns to disappear!

 

Wild Boar Carnitas

Carnitas hold a special place in my heart and now my husbands heart too. You see I grew up eating carnitas on Sunday mornings with my family. My dad would wake up early in the morning and go to the Carniceria and get us freshly made carnitas, tortillas and salsas. Then we would all gather in the kitchen in our pajamas and laugh and have a great time together, all while drinking Pepsi. We can't even think about eating carnitas without a Pepsi, and if you bring Coke, you would have been thrown out of our carnitas party. Pepsi is the only beverage accepted. It has become my families thing and we love it. My husband was not raised in a house with carnitas family Sundays, so when he became part of the family he started looking forward to our awesome tradition, Pepsi and all! So now every time I eat carnitas I think of my wonderful family back home in California and how much I miss them, and wish I could have carnitas Sunday with them more often.

So these carnitas are my take on carnitas family Sunday. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. If you don't have any wild boar you can always use regular pork shoulder!

Wild Boar Carnitas with Midnight Black Beans and Orange Segments

Ingredients:

  • 2 #  Boneless Wild Boar Shoulder, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Lard, melted
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lay the pieces of wild boar in a baking dish like a large Dutch Oven. Liberally sprinkle with salt on all sides of the meat. Pour the lard and 1/3 cup of water all around the meat. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 F. Uncover the meat and cook until the liquid has completely reduced but only the liquid fat remains. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, just keep an eye out. Once the meat is cooked shred the meat and reserve for plating.

Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce:

  • 1- 14.5 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper

In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients except the salt. Bring to a boil and reduce by 1/2. Once the sauce has cooled down a bit, place the sauce in a blender and blend till a smooth texture has been reached.

Toppings:

  • Orange segments
  • Jicama, diced
  • Rainbow Radish, sliced thin
  • Midnight Black Beans 
  • Watercress

Midnight Black beans, cook according to recommendation, but I suggest cooking the beans in chicken stock with an extra onion instead of regular water. You can find Midnight Black Beans Here.