Serving a whole boar leg is a dramatic presentation for a special occasion. It may be prepared in a similar manner as a roasted leg of lamb. Because the meat is so lean, it should marinate overnight before roasting. Boar leg is easily available through mail order or in specialty stores.
Lynda Balslev for NPR
Lynda Balslev for NPR
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 3- to 4-pound boar leg with bone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle full-bodied red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
6 rosemary sprigs, divided
4 thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon juniper berries, cracked
1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
For The Sauce
2 cups chicken stock
4 sage leaves
1/4 cup red currant jelly or cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
One day before serving, season boar leg all over with salt and pepper. Refrigerate while the marinade is prepared.
For marinade, combine the wine, vinegar, 4 rosemary sprigs, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, carrot, onion, peppercorns, juniper berries and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Once the marinade is cool, arrange boar leg in a rimmed pan large enough to hold it. Pour marinade over the leg. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turning leg once or twice.
One hour before roasting, remove boar leg from refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Transfer meat to a roasting pan. Strain marinade and discard solids.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly crush remaining 2 rosemary sprigs with the mustard in a mortar with a pestle. Whisk in oil. Smear mustard all over the boar leg. Pour strained marinade into the pan around boar leg. Place in oven and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees. Continue to roast boar leg until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 150 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Transfer boar leg to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes.
While the meat is resting, prepare the sauce. Place roasting pan with any juices over medium heat on stovetop. Add chicken stock and sage leaves, stirring up the brown bits. Whisk 1/4 cup red currant jelly or cranberry sauce into the gravy and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Remove sage leaves. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. Pour into a serving bowl or gravy boat. Serve with the meat.