Skip to main content

How To Make Slovenian Smoked Boar, a Meat Lover’s Dream

Aerial shot of Piran, a coastal resort city in Slovenia.
Piran, Slovenia Image used with permission by copyright holder

A small and beautiful country in Central Europe, Slovenia packs a culinary punch well above its diminutive size. Particularly noteworthy is Slovenia’s array of meat dishes, made even more interesting with the addition of unique animal proteins like wild boar. Our experts on this Slovenian culinary journey is Pekarna NYC, a new Slovenian American restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Related Guides

All About the Meat

So what is Slovenian cuisine?  “It’s a mix of Italian and Eastern European, many say that the Austrian Hungarian empire also had a big effect on their food. They (Slovenians) have access to a lot of meat and fresh produce which is grown by a lot of families in their backyard,” said Dean O’Neill, owner of Pekarna. Like its neighbors, Slovenians love hearty stews and sausages along with delicate dessert pastries like kremna rezina. This elegant cake, cut into cubes, is a concoction of vanilla custard and whipped cream sandwiched between crispy, thin pastry dusted with powdered sugar.

However, there’s one thing abundantly clear about Slovenian food — meat is beloved. A great example of this meat eating culture is the wide range of cured and smoked meats in Slovenia. Most cured meats and sausages in the country are made from pork, including the popular Kraški pršut (also called Karst prosciutto or Karst ham). This non-smoked ham is cured for 12-16 months and made with sea salt from the coastal areas of Slovenia. Locals usually enjoy this ham with cheese, bread, and wine. Besides cured meats, meat stews and dumplings are also popular throughout Slovenia.

Wild Boar – Slovenian Style

Pekarna Crispy Wild Boar with Rice on a plate.
Crispy Wild Boar with Rice Image used with permission by copyright holder

Besides domestic pigs, Slovenians also enjoy another type of meat — wild boar. “Boar has a very popular profile in Slovenia, I still remember going to the top of Vogel, the biggest ski mountains in Slovenia and having wild boar soup,” said O’Neill. Traditionally, one of the most common preparations is bograč, a hearty stew consisting of four meats: Beef, venison, pork, and of course, wild boar. Commonly considered a Hungarian shepherd invention, the meats of bograč stew are simmered with potatoes, onions, spices, and wine for a rich and comforting meal.

At Pekarna, the restaurant has taken an interesting spin on traditional Slovenian boar. Recently opened in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Pekarna is helmed by Australian-native Dean O’Neill, Executive Chef Kamal Hoyte, and Consulting Slovenian Pastry Chef Alma Rekvic. Inspired by his trips and business projects in Slovenia, O’Neil was inspired to open a restaurant space centered on Slovenian food. Pekarna’s plan is to introduce Slovenian food and culture to New York, as it is a cuisine that’s tricky to find even in America’s largest city.

Pekarna’s food blends traditional Slovenian flavors with New American flair and French techniques. The best example of this is Pekarna’s Crispy Wild Boar with Rice. The boar for this dish is sourced from Texas through meat purveyor D’Artagnan, who buys directly from hunters before processing. The boar is smoked, shredded, and mixed with spices and rice before being rolled in a Cajun batter and fried. The entire dish is served with mustard and sweet chili sauce. The result is a dish that’s crunchy, soft from the rice, and meaty from the shreds of smoky boar meat.

To construct your own version of this dish, try to obtain wild boar if possible. Although pork is a suitable replacement, wild boar has less fat and a stronger, nutty flavor in comparison. As a wild meat, boar has higher amounts of protein and less cholesterol compared to domestic pork. Also, be sure to use the shoulder or leg, cuts that have plenty of fat and can stand up to hours of slow-cooking.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
How to make a delicious Philly roast pork sandwich
For the best of Philly, try this roast pork sandwich recipe
philly roast pork sandwich recipe guide high street

DiNic's roast pork. Image used with permission by copyright holder

The cheesesteak might be Philadelphia's most famous culinary item, but for many natives, there's another sandwich considered to be the true taste of Philadelphia — the roast pork sandwich. Made from slow-roasted pork, sharp provolone, and sautéed broccoli rabe or spinach, the roast pork sandwich is a beloved culinary staple throughout the city.
What makes a Philly roast pork sandwich special?
The Philly style of roast pork sandwich is believed to have originated from the Italian American community in South Philly, either from Italian porchetta or from leftover weekend pork roasts. Whatever the origin, the sandwich has remained popular and relatively unchanged for decades.

Read more
Chef-inspired recipe: How to make Mexican carne asada for a winning meat entree
Become an expert cook and make this at home
Carne asada

Carne asada, a smoky and savory Mexican-style steak, is one of the most popular items in Mexican cuisine. Spanish for “grilled meat,” carne asada is incredibly prevalent in America, and it can be quite tricky trying to find a Mexican menu that doesn't feature this iconic beef dish. But carne asada isn't only a restaurant treat — it can be recreated fantastically at home. All you need is quality meat, the right techniques, and a hot grill.

Origins of carne asada
The historic origins of carne asada can be traced to the Spanish colonization of Mexico. Cattle are not native to Mexico. Cows were brought to Mexico in 1521 by the Spanish to serve as labor and dairy animals. Initially, beef was not widely eaten, as the meat from these early working animals were tough and expensive because of their value as farm animals.

Read more
Listen to the experts: Here’s how to make the perfect Paloma drink
Want to make the best version of a classic Paloma cocktail? Here's how
Paloma cocktail

Step aside margarita, the Paloma is the real drink of Mexico. The zesty cocktail is delicious any month of the year, but it's especially mouthwatering on a hot day. In a situation such as this, we like to pick the wise brains of cocktail gurus like Alicia Perry and Garret Dostal. Perry used to make incredible drinks at Polite Provisions and last we heard, works as a drinks guru at Consortium Holdings. Garrett Dostal is a cocktail consultant and brand ambassador for Hiatus Tequila.

"In terms of the Paloma cocktail, I am really looking for a cocktail that is juicy, acidic, and thirst quenching," Perry said. She adds that there are three major components at play -- the tequila for the Paloma, citrus, and soda. "In the process of creating my perfect Paloma I found that specific Blanco Tequilas were either too dominant, or were not able to stand up to the ingredients of the cocktail," she stated. "Fortaleza Blanco allowed for subtle notes of citrus, agave, and vanilla to be well represented in the cocktail."

Read more