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Paula Jussila’s Wild Boar Sausage and Kale Frittata

A California winery owner transforms a vineyard problem into brunchtime bounty
Photo by: Andrew Purcell
The gaminess of the sausage pairs well with a smoky, spicy Syrah-dominated blend.

Hilary Sims
Posted: December 2, 2016

Nutty, gamy and slightly sweet, wild boar meat can be just the thing when the cold weather has you craving heartier fare, yet it’s leaner than regular pork thanks to the fact that this feral animal, by definition, lives wild and free.

A little too free, if you ask Kevin and Paula Jussila. The co-owners of Kukkula Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. (and the subjects of “Paso Home, Nordic Heart,” by Mark Morrison, in Wine Spectator’s Dec. 31, 2016, issue) are plagued year-round by a population of wild boars. “They’re a problem,” Paula says, “and there are a lot of them.” Left unchecked, the pigs run rampant, ripping up lawns and helping themselves to grapes in the vineyard. The Jussilas now trap and kill the boars that venture onto their property, then have an area butcher process the meat into fridge-ready cuts.

One of their favorite ways to enjoy the hyper-local animal is in sausage form. The boar sausage frittata recipe that Paula has provided here is perfect for a winter brunch alongside a lemony green salad. (You can order wild boar sausage online from specialty retailers, or substitute the sausage of your choice. Sweet Italian sausage, though it's milder and lacks the gaminess of boar, would work well for its salty-sweetness.)

What to drink with wild boar? “A Syrah-heavy wine would be the best,” Paula says. “You want something that’s gonna stand up to the strong meaty taste in the dish.” She and Kevin pair the frittata with their Kukkula Pas de Deux Paso Robles 2012, a smoky, spicy Syrah-Grenache blend. Either a Northern Rhône selection such as the Equis St.-Joseph 2014 (91 points, $30) or a South African bottling like the Duncan Savage Western Cape 2013 (93, $45) would make a fine alternative.

Paula Jussila’s Wild Boar Sausage and Kale Frittata

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 bunch black or Tuscan kale, center ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 12 ounces wild boar sausage (or sweet Italian sausage), casings removed, sausage broken into small pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray a 9-inch-by-9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain. When kale is cool enough to handle, finely chop, then wrap in paper towels and squeeze out water. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add onion and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Add kale and cooled sausage mixture, then feta, and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.

4. Bake frittata until set in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 as a main course or 20 as an appetizer.

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