My Little Princess
At a recent holiday Christmas party for work, I was asked to come up with a fun fact about me that most people wouldn't know. I thought about it for a while and wrote, "I like spam, enjoy baking and watch a lot of princess movies". Very few people I work with were able to guess that was my fun fact. I have a three year old daughter who is obsessed with everything princess, which means I know way more about princesses than any 37 year old man should. I have watched so many of these movies and some of them over and over again that I am starting to be inspired by them.
In the movie, The princess and the Frog, there is a seen where some cajuns are out frog gigging and one of the men says, "I love to eat my frogs legs with the sauce piquante", or something to that affect. Ever since then I have been stuck thinking about "the sauce piquante", then several weeks ago Hank Shaw wrote about Venison Sauce Piquante. I have cooked a lot of Hanks recipes in the past and have been inspired by him before as well. I knew that if Hank was making it, it must be worth while. I don't know how he would feel about being the second half of my princess inspired quest but I was going to give it a try.
The Sauce Piquante is a cajun dish and like most things cajun starts with a good roux. For my roux I used butter and flour, the roux is one of the most important aspects of this dish. It is really amazing how two things as simple as flour and butter mixed together over heat and stirred can turn into something so amazing. When the butter first melts you have this blonde colored paste that slowly turns into this deep, rich, nutty smelling miracle that can make or break the rest of the meal. After about 30 minutes of stirring over medium heat the roux had achieved a beautiful peanut butter color and smelled good enough to eat on its own.
The next step was to add the other staple of cajun cooking, the holy trinity of onions, green peppers, and celery. At this point the dish looked vaguely similar to other cajun classics like gumbo or Etouffee. When looking at recipes I found that you can used basically any kind of meat that you want in this dish. I had two pounds of wild boar already cubed up in the freezer so I decided to use that. I added the rest of the ingredients and let the pot simmer for 2 hours. I set the whole thing aside overnight and then today reheated the sauce piquante in the oven at 300 degrees for 2 more hours. The end result was a dish that was rich and delicious.
This type of stew is amazing, the flavors that come out from the low heat slow cooking method are so deep and intense that you can't help but love it. It is the type of dish that always makes me think of my grandmother's stews that would sit on the stove all day. The meat in those stews would be so tender you could cut it with a spoon and always warmed you up on cold winter days. My 3 year was very excited to eat it and of course then wanted to watch another princess movie.
Wild Boar Sauce Piquante
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup onion
1 cup green pepper
1/2 cup celery
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup beer
3 cups water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp dry thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
3 bay leaves
pinch of chipotle powder
16 oz tomato sauce
2 pounds wild boar cubed into 1 inch cubes ( or other meat)
salt and pepper to taste
1. stir butter and flour together over medium heat until the roux is a dark peanut butter color
2. add the onions, peppers, and celery and stir until the vegetables are soft 5-6 minutes
3. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and the herbs and spices and stir until well combined
4. stir in the wild boar or meat of your choice and cook for 5 minutes
5. add the beer, water and tomato sauce and bay leaves, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender to your liking.
6. salt and pepper to taste and you can add your favorite hot sauce at this point as well to make it as hot as you would like
7. serve over rice and garnish with green onions, I add a little cilantro over the top as well