Wild Boar Bouchées

A bouchée is an individual basket of puff pastry, like a small vol-au-vent. The first bouchée was supposedly invented by Marie Leszczyńska, the Polish princess wife of Louis XV. The original bouchée à la reine is filled with mushrooms, chicken, veal quenelles and sweetbreads in a cream sauce.

This iteration was inspired by a dish we ate in Prague many years ago, at U Modré Kachničky. In small, beautiful rooms richly filled with antiques, U Modré Kachničky (The Blue Duckling in English) offers a wide selection of duck and wild game dishes. We once drove all the way from Budapest just to have dinner there!

In my recipe, I think it’s better to prepare the braised wild boar shanks one or two days in advance. However, the bouchées need to be baked just before serving.

Braised wild boar shanks
Yields 4 servings

2 lb wild boar shanks
salt
pepper
olive oil
8 oz onion, large dice
4 oz carrot, large dice
4 oz turnip, large dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 rosemary sprig (about 2″ long)
2 thyme sprigs
2 cloves
6 oz red wine

  • Season the shanks with salt and pepper, and sauté with olive oil in a pot over high heat until brown on all sides. Reserve the meat.
  • In the same pot, sauté the onion, carrot, turnip and garlic with some more olive oil until golden brown. Add the rosemary, thyme, cloves and wine, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, add enough water to cover, and bring back to a boil. Cover with a lid and cook in a 200 F oven until very tender, for about 3 hours. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Wild boar bouchées
Yields 4 servings

braised wild boar shanks
3 oz pancetta, medium dice
4 1/2 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 oz heavy cream
2 oz green peas
1 lb puff pastry
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1 oz butter

  • Take the shanks out of the braise liquid. Discard the bones and fat, and reserve about 12 oz of the meat, keeping the rest for another recipe. Strain the braise liquid and reserve.
  • In a saucepan, sauté the pancetta over high heat. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft. Add the braise liquid, and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the heavy cream and green peas. Shred the meat between your fingers, add to the saucepan and reserve.
  • Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle about 3″ thick. Cut out 8 discs using a 3 1/2″ cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Cut out the centers of 4 of the discs using a 2 3/4″ cutter. You should now have 4 small discs, 4 large discs, and 4 rings. Mix the egg yolk and the milk, and brush the discs and rings with this eggwash. Place the rings on top of the large discs, pressing lightly to adhere. Prick the centers of these bouchées and bake together with the small discs (the lids) in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and remove the excess dough inside the bouchées.
  • Reheat the meat mixture and stir in the butter. Fill the bouchées and serve immediately.