Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wild boar lasagna

On Saturday, we drove two hours south to visit a couple of friends who live on a farm, and returned with lots of goodies. Among those was a pound of ground wild boar meat. Apparently, some wild boar were terrorizing their property, so they had them trapped and butchered. I decided to make it into bulk sausage by adapting Michael Ruhlman's recipe for spicy Italian sausage from Charcuterie. I tried to make the lasagna as healthy as possible while still keeping it scrumptious. I used low-fat cheeses, whole wheat pasta, egg white, and lots of veggies. Wild boar is comparatively rather lean, but you could substitute ground pork or even ground turkey. Dark meat turkey would probably work best here. I thought that the sausage was too salty, but it was just fine when simmered with tomatoes and veggies. If you plan to eat the sausage on its own, I'd start with half the amount of salt and sugar, brown a bit in a pan, taste, and then decide whether or not to add the rest.

For the sausage:
-1 lb ground wild boar
-2 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tbs granulated sugar
-1/2 tbs toasted fennel seed
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tbs paprika
-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tbs hot red pepper flakes
-1/2 tbs coarsely ground black pepper
-1 tbs red wine vinegar

Using your hands, thoroughly combine the pork with the spices. Form into patties, stuff into casings, or leave as-is for lasagna.

For the lasagna:
-8 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest), cooked until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions
-1 lb sausage meat, homemade using above recipe, or spicy Italian sausage removed from casings
-1 lb frozen chopped spinach, defrosted according to directions and liquid thoroughly squeezed out
-16 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small (8oz) can tomato puree
-1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes)
-1 tsp sugar
-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
-1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (I felt that this was too strong, you might want to cut this in half unless you love oregano)
-1 lb part skim ricotta cheese
-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-2 egg whites, lightly beaten
-Shredded part-skim mozzarella, for topping (really depends on how much you like)
-Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, and egg white in a medium-sized bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator.

2. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, brown the sausage meat over medium-high heat. If it is very lean meat you may need to add a little cooking spray. Drain off excess fat, if necessary. Add garlic, mushrooms, and 1/4 cup water. Cook until mushrooms are browned and liquid has evaporated. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, and spinach. Simmer until warmed through and set aside to cool.

3. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Pour the small can of tomato sauce into the bottom. Top with a layer of noodles, trimming to fit if necessary. Add half the ricotta (your hands are the best tool for this), then half the sauce. Repeat with the remaining noodles, ricotta, and sauce. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mozzarella is gooey. Let rest for 10 minutes per serving.

I cut this into 15 good sized squares. 1 would cover most people, or 2 if you're really hungry.

Per square: 216 calories, 10 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein.

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