Distinctly Corsican cuisine
Corsica boasts a captivating culture all its own and a stunningly diverse landscape. And while this 100-mile long island is nestled close to Italy, a country with which it shares deep roots, it is actually part of France, and has been for two centuries. This dichotomy imbued Corsica with a unique sense of self—from the vernacular language, Corsu, to earthy local fare. A wealth of fresh, local ingredients—abundant on the island thanks to its Mediterranean location and active hunting season—take center stage in Corsican cuisine. The delectable standouts are chestnuts, wild boar, and brocciu (a crumbly white cheese), which you’re likely to find on the menu when you visit the island during our Small Ship Cruise Tour The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles. French and Italian influences can be found throughout the Corsican kitchen, and underlie many of the local dishes including hearty stews brimming with red wine.
Civet de Sanglier (Wild Boar Ragu)
Rich and rustic, civet de sanglier is a household staple. Two local favorites—wild boar and red wine—come together to form the foundation of this satisfying ragu, which is then topped with yet another regional ingredient, the chestnut. But for those craving for a taste of Corsica miles away, pork shoulder is an ideal substitute for the hard-to-source boar.
2 pounds wild boar (or pork shoulder), cut into 2-inch cubes
4 cups dry red wine
1 onion, finely sliced
2 carrots, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup eau-de-vie (fruit brandy), if available
Bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. rosemary, and 12 peppercorns tied into cheesecloth)
1 pound chestnuts, in shell
1 fennel stalk, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- The night before you plan to enjoy this dish, place the meat in a large bowl and add the red wine, eau-de-vie, onion, carrots, and garlic. Create a bouquet garni by wrapping the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and peppercorns in cheesecloth. Add bouquet garni to the marinade, mix to combine, and place in the fridge overnight.
- Remove the chunks of meat from the marinade and strain well. Then strain the marinade, separating the solid ingredients and liquid. Keep separate and reserve both.
- Heat the oil in a casserole dish or heavy-bottomed pot, and brown the meat in batches.
- Once all the meat is browned, add the solid ingredients from the marinade and sweat them off in the pan. Sprinkle with flour. Stir in the marinade liquid and bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on a low heat for 2 hours, checking occasionally to ensure stew does not become too thick. Add water if necessary.
- Cook the chestnuts and fennel in salted water for about 30 minutes. Peel the chestnuts and add them to the stew with the fennel. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes before serving the stew.