Wildbore ragu with pumpkin and gnocchi for Saint Hubert’s day

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Sütőtök vaddisznó lapocka burgonya nudlivalSt Hubert’s feast day is November 3d. He was a Christian saint who was the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers. Known as the Apostle of the Ardennes, he was called upon, until the early 20th century, to cure rabies through the use of the traditional St Hubert’s Key.

He lived in the present Belgium near Brussels (656-727), and he was a noble man. When his wife died giving birth to their son, Hubert retreated from the court, withdrew into the forested Ardennes, and gave himself up entirely to hunting. But a great spiritual revolution was imminent. On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag or hart, the animal turned and, as the pious legend narrates, he was astounded at perceiving a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell”. Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you. .

Be that as it may, Hubert set out immediately for Maastricht, for there Lambert was bishop. Saint Lambert received Hubert kindly, and became his spiritual director. Hubert now renounced all his very considerable honors, and gave up his birthright to the Aquitaine to his younger brother Odo, whom he made guardian of his infant son, Floribert. Having distributed all his personal wealth among the poor, he studied for the priesthood, was soon ordained, and shortly afterwards became one of St. Lambert’s chief associates in the administration of his diocese. By the advice of St. Lambert, Hubert made a pilgrimage to Rome in 708, but during his absence, Lambert was assassinated by the followers of Pippin. He distributed his episcopal revenues among the poor, was diligent in fasting and prayer, and became famous for his eloquence in the pulpit. In 720, in obedience to a vision, Hubert translated St. Lambert’s remains from Maastricht to Liège with great pomp and ceremonial, several neighboring bishops assisting. He died in an injury on 30 of May in 727 in Tervuren near Brussels, Belgium. I wanted to give a tribute to him with this excellent wild dish but what made it special the side dish which was the caramelized pumpkin! With the spices it was a big hit!

Wild boar ragu with caramelized pumpkin and gnocchi

Ingredients: 500g venison and wild boar, cut into 4cm chunk, 1 tbsp flour, seasoned with black pepper, 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 onions, roughly chopped, 3 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 carrot, 1 parsley, 85g pancetta, cubed, 750ml red wine, 200ml venison or beef stock, 4 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, corn flour, to thicken (optional), 4 sprigs rosemary

for the baken fried pumpkin: 1 small Hokkaido pumpkin, salt and pepper, curry, garam massala, carraway seeds, good olive oil

Directions: Toss the chunks of meat in the seasoned flour. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Fry the onions gently for 5 – 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic, floured meats, sausages (if using) and pancetta and once browned, pour in the red wine and stock. Add chopped vegetables and soaking water, and the herbs. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until the venison is tender. Thicken with corn flour, if using. Season to taste, transfer to four plates and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Meanwhile prepare pumpkin: Heat grill to medium-high. Cut the pumpkins vertically into 3/4 inch slices. Remove the seeds and stringy parts. Brush both sides of each slice liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and the other spices. Place the slices on the grill for about 5 minutes a side or until dark grill marks appear. Turn and grill the other side until you can easily pierce the pumpkin slice with a fork. Make sure that the pumpkin is tender. Since some of the salt tends to fall off during the grilling process, serve with a small dish of additional sea salt. You can scatter pumkin with brown sugar it will caramelize the flesh and ‘ll give an extra good flavor to pumpkin.

Serve wild bore with gnocchi and alongside with the pumpkins.

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