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Chicken-fried boar: Christmas dinner, Texas style

Chicken-fried boar steak with jalapeño gravy from the menu at The Overlook Restaurant at Canyon of the Eagles Resort in Burnet. Photo by Ronnie Madrid/Divine Radiance Photography

One of the most popular Southwest-inspired dishes that chef Matthew Wayland serves at The Overlook Restaurant in the Canyon of the Eagles Resort in Burnet is the chicken-fried wild boar with jalapeño gravy.

“If I take it off, people always ask me where it went,” he said. “Chicken-fried steak is so well-known here, so I tried to elevate it to the chicken-fried boar. I add a lot of Southwest flavors.”

The wild boar cutlet is served with a thick jalapeño cream gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.

“I had a guy stop me in the hallway, and he thought it was going to be campsite food,” Wayland said. “He couldn’t believe the restaurant was the way it was. He ordered the boar and said, ‘This is amazing.’ That makes me feel good.”

Chef Matthew Wayland of The Overlook Restaurant at Canyon of the Eagles Resort. Photo by Ronnie Madrid/Divine Radiance Photography


Wayland learned to cook at a young age. When he was about 10 years old, he would get up on Sunday mornings to make biscuits and gravy with his grandfather.

“That is what got the bug in me,” he said. “I just fell in love with it. I’ve been doing it about 30 years now.”

He’s still making biscuits and gravy all these years later as head chef at The Overlook, which serves his grandfather’s recipe on weekends. That's just a sample of his regional repertoire of dishes.

“I grew up in the South and I moved to the Southwest, so I fuse those flavors together,” Wayland said. “People ask us what this restaurant’s food is. I say it’s American cuisine with a Southwest feel.”

The culinary scene in Texas is itself inspiring, he said. Between great restaurants in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, he’s always making culinary-focused trips when he can get away from the kitchen and bringing his inspirations to the Highland Lakes.

The Overlook Restaurant is located at Canyon of the Eagles Resort, 16942 Ranch Road 2341 in Burnet. For more information, visit canyonoftheeagles.com.

alex@thepicayune.com

DIY CHICKEN-FRIED BOAR STEAK

The recipes for the chicken-fried boar plate at Canyon of the Eagles from chef Matthew Wayland were written for large batches. Instead of sharing the quantities, we decided to share the secret ingredients. Use your own time-tested methods for making a flour roux or frying steak and season to taste for a unique version of the following.

JALAPEÑO GRAVY

For spices, Wayland uses garlic sliced razor thin (a method referred to as "goodfella"), minced jalapeño, cumin, Sriracha sauce, and salt and pepper. His base is made of bacon fat, all-purpose flour, chicken stock, and heavy cream. At the end, he throws in chopped cilantro for extra flavor.

The process is to sauté the garlic and jalapeños in the bacon fat, add the flour, and stir constantly until the roux is blonde. Slowly stir in warm chicken stock and then the cream. Reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and season.

CHICKEN-FRIED BOAR STEAK

The ingredients are simple: buttermilk, flour, salt, pepper, and boar. Wayland orders his boar steaks from brokenarrowranch.com.

Dip each steak into flour first, then into the buttermilk, and back into the flour. Refrigerate the cutlets to let the coating set. That keeps it from separating from the meat in the hot oil.

Wayland uses a deep fryer, cooking the steaks in canola oil at 350 degrees until golden-brown. Serve topped with jalapeño gravy. If you don't have a deep fryer, a deep cast-iron skillet also does the trick.

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