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Favorite Game Dish

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oldpro View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 March 2012 at 11:59
I thoroughly enjoy the whole process of harvesting game, cleaning or butchering it for the table, and preparing it.  Rather than doing things that mask the taste, I prefer to prepare dishes that let the natural flavors showcase the meal. 
 
I have limited experience with big game outside of whitetail deer or feral hogs.  I have pretty much unlimited experience with those animals.  I also love waterfowl and have paid my dues in all kinds of weather in rag spreads and duck blinds. 
 
What are your favorite recipes for venison, ducks (by species), and geese (by species)? 
 
I know Historic Foodie has a wonderful assortment of recipes, because I have been a beneficiary of some of his expertise.  What is your favorite recipe in each category?  I'll submit mine later.
 
Jack 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2012 at 12:08
Once again, I forgot.  Let's add upland game to the menu mix.  Doves, quail, wild turkey, pheasant, snipe, or anything you might find in the L.L. Bean or Orvis cookbook.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2012 at 12:16

great topic, jack ~ i hate to say it, but my experience in game birds is very limited - however, i really like smoke-cooked pheasant. another favourite that i made once was Guiso de Faisán. when i made the dish, i think i simmered the pheasant a little too long, as it became a little bit dry and stringy, but i will say with 100% certaintly that the flavours of the dish were absolutely wonderful, and i would heartily recommend it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2012 at 12:33
Go on, Jack. Put the pressure on. Confused
 
I would be very hard pressed to limit my selections. "Favorite", most often, is the last game dish I ate. But here are some in each category that I particularly care for:
 
Venison: It's all good. But nothing compares to venison tenderloin, cut into medallions, and quickly sauteed in butter with a few sprigs of rosemary.
 
Ducks: Fried duck in ginger sauce. While this also works with geese, as you know, it originated with ducks. And I still prefer it that way.
 
Goose: Broiled goose breast with cumberland sauce.
 
Upland birds: Peter's Partridge, without queston. Margi can confirm how good it is. Elegant made with any partridge, it's a true homage to Ruffed Grouse---the undisputed king of gamebirds.
 
Small game: You left this category out as well, Jack. But I thought I'd add it in. Frankly, of all the hundreds of ways of preparing small game, my all-time preference is for a bowl of fricasseed squirrel. Unfortunately I don't have it too often, cuz Friend Wife thinks squirrels are merely rats that live in trees, and refuses to eat them. Alas.
 
but my experience in game birds is very limited
 
Dang nab it, Ron, you gotta get out more. Montanna is a paradise for gamebirds. Depending where you hunt there are several varieties of grouse; chukar, pheasant; quail; and prairie chickens. Plenty of diversity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2012 at 12:39
don't get me wrong, i do a lot of hunting for deer (both whitetail and mule) and for pronghorn. but birds is an area where i've never really gone due to bad shotgun skills, which i hope to rectify this summer in time for fall hunting. when that happens, i'll be doing plenty of experimenting for sure. we don't have quail here, but i beleive what you call chukar is the same thing that we call hungarian partridges - very wonderful birds - probably my favourite both for hunting and eating.
 
as for deer/antelope recipes, i have way too many stuck in my head, and all, to me, are good. most times i will take a favourite recipe featuring beef or veal, and adapt it for venison with a change or two in the actual cooking procedure. lately, i've gotten very intersted in variouos charcuterie projects with venison.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2012 at 12:45
Not quite the same, Ron. Hungarian, or gray partridge are a different bird than chukar; which is also a partridge.
 
Chukar are a much prettier bird, in my opinion. But the Huns are often much more sporty. The bottom line: six of one, half a dozen of another......and I wouldn't mind having have a half dozen of either right about now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 08:09
I prepared this recently with a backstrap from a doe, and it is now a favorite.  It is not a dish that you would use on any cut coming from a "wallhanger buck".  This is a recipe posted by Hank Shaw in Hunter Angler Gardner Cook.
 
Venison Steak Diane
 
1/2 pound piece of venison backstrap or inside tenders
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brandy (I used Cognac)
1/2 cup venison stock or beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Eough heavy cream to turn the sauce the color of coffee with cream, about 1/4 cup
Minced herbs for garnish (basil, parsley, chives, etc.)
 
1.  Bring the venison loin out of the fridge, salt it well, and liet it come to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
2.  Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds.  Pat the venison dry with a paper towel (I applied a fair amount of finely cracked black pepper at this point)and cook on all sides.  Turn the heat to medium so the butter doesn't scorch.   It should take 8-10 minutes to get a nice brown crust on the venison without overcooking the center.  Remove the venison , tent loosely with foil, and set aside. 
3.  Add the shallots to the saute pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so.  Don't let the garlic burn.  Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping off any stuck -on bits in the pan with a wooden spoon.  Let the brandy cook down almost to a glaze, then add the venison stock, tomato paste, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.  Let this boil down until a wooden spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail behind it that does not fill in for a second or two.  This should take about 3 minutes on high heat.
4.  Turn off the heat and let the boiling subside.  Trir in the cream until the sauce is as light as you like.  Don't let the sauce boil again or it could break.
5.  Slice the venison into thick medallions.  If you have not cooked it enough, let the meat swim in the sauce for a few moments to heat through.  Pour some sauce on a plate and top with the meat.  Garnish with some chopped herbs.  Chives are tradional, but basil and parsley are also nice. 
 
I copied this recipe exactly from the text, and other than the addition of the cracked pepper I followed this recipe as is.  It was excellent and I don't know if I would change a thing.  I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts, which worked well.  This recipe will double.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 08:18
it looks pretty good to me - and i think i have some venison tenderloin lying around somewhere....
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Grilled Wild Goose Breasts (or Sandhill Crane aka "Ribeye-in-the-Sky")

This is a time tested recipe, but it works better if you don't shoot the bird leading the flock, whether it's geese or cranes.  This is better with the juveniles. 
 
Ingredients:
 
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
 
After fileting the breast, remove the membrane from the front of the breast and any of the cartilege around the wing socket.  Salt and pepper generously, and douse in olive oil, as you would for a steak before grilling.  Let the breast come to room temperature and rest in the juices for 30 minutes.  Cook over hardwood coals (or charcoal), basting frequently with a mixture of red wine and melted unsalted butter.  Do not overcook.  Rare to medium rare at most. 
 
Slice across the grain.  I will usually make a horseradish sauce (think prime rib) or bernaise sauce (Knorr's works for me) to serve with this.  At Christmas I usually cook a whole beef tender.  The last couple of years I have also cooked a couple of sandhill crane breasts at the same time.  The crane has gone first, and you cannot distinguish it from the beef.  I cook over mesquite coals for both.  Snow goose and specklebelly are virtually indistinguishable cooked in this manner. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 10:31
I've yet to really explore game meats. I just started eating meat a few months ago and have concentrated on pork mostly! I have had some "duck bacon" which was marinated and smoked duck breast. So good! And a few bites of feral hog ribs. Lots to explore - my cousin hunts deer and the farmers market has feral hog and rabbit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 10:40
Marissa - in my opinion, game meat is the best there is, as long as it is cared for properly from field to table. Too many people spend so much money on the latest hunting gadgets or exotic hunting trips, and then completely neglect the care and quality of the meat - makes no sense to me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 11:41

There are more sources for getting game from commercial markets than ever before in the US.  Consequently, more cuts of venison, properly butchered, are available along with some great recipes for preparing it.  Game is the featured presentation in a lot of your finer restaurants, which was not the case in the states in the past.  The UK featured game on a lot of menus years ago, and in markets.  I remember going to Harrod's in London and was blown away by the assortment of game animals available.  Game is just now showing up in supermarket cases here although it does come with a pretty hefty price tag. 

 Some years back I was watching the Galloping Gourmet prepare a venison dish on televison before it became popular.  He was showcasing the backstrap, and said that it cost $18 per pound.  I was watching the show with my deer lease partner.  He turned to me with an astonished look on his face and said "I had no idea you could get it that cheap!"  It was worth every penny then and now.
 
To me, properly processed game is the finest ingredient you can put on your table. 
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I do love being a Montanan:
 
  • Cost of the cartridge fired from the rifle: 1$ to 2$ (much less if hand-loaded).
  • Cost of gasoline getting to and from the hunting site: variable (but if it's more than 10$, you're going on a "fancy trip."
  • Cost of butchering the deer yourself: 10-20$ at most, depending on whether or not you use a vacuum sealer, butcher paper and/or ziplock-style freezer bags). 
Having some of the best "organically-grown, free-range, all-natural, hormone-free" meat in the world sitting right in your freezer: PRICELESS
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If we're going to play that game, Ron, the fact is you cannot afford to hunt your own game. You are leaving out, among other things:
 
1. Cost of rifle and accessories (i.e., scope, sling, guncase, etc.). 
2. Cost of hunting lease (most of us live outside the Rocky Mountains, and there is, on a practical level, no free-range.
3. Cost of hunting license.
 
The long and the short of it is that if you can harvest a deer for less than $2,000, God bless you.
 
I'm curious, too, where you hunt. Gas is averaging $3.75 here. My truck makes 15 miles per gallon. So, round trip, I could, using your figures, travel at most 40 miles. You reckon the average sportsman living in Butte or Helena can harvest a deer within 20 miles of the house?
 
I point this out not to disagree with you, but to highlight how silly it is to cost-account activities like hunting. For most people, hunting is done for recreation. The meat is icing on the cake, is is no more subject to return-on-investment accounting than would be golf, or backpacking, or sailing if those were your hobbies.
 
What really counts is your last line, not the three that came before it.
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ok, i'll give you the cost of the license - i forgot that one in my calculations above.
 
but as for the rife ~ hell, in montana we're born with one in each hand, practically. if we didn't have one for hunting, we'd have another one (or several) for something else. speaking for the area i live, if you don't have a rifle (or if you can't at least borrow one), you're in sorry shape ~
 
as to the lease, etc - that's where the "grateful to be from montana" comes in! Wink
 
so add 25$ or so for the licenses (i usually get one "A tag", which covers any deer of either sex or species, plus one or two "B tags" for antlerless deer (up to six total, if i remember correctly, depending on species, availability, hunting district etc.), and we're still well below 100$.
 
as to where i hunt, i consider myself extremely lucky. if you picture the "shape" montana in your head, chinook is almost smack in the center, but up north, just south of the canadian border. i can literally be up to my neck in "huntable" deer less than three miles from home - not from town, but from my actual house in town - which was the case just last year. the folks in butte, helena etc. aren't quite as fortunate, but there are indeed very good opportunities close to even the big towns. when we lived near great falls a few years ago, i could find plenty of deer on accessable hunting land within 10 miles of town, and i have seen hunters outside helena and missoula, probably less than 10 miles as well.
 
the situations i describe above are very realistic and, surprisingly, can put a person in very rural areas with very good opportunities for deer that are trophy-class. my favourite hunting spots are about 3 miles and 8 miles from my house, respectively, and the deer i have seen there (and antelope, too) are very nice indeed. bird opportunities are similarly good. but, and i must stress BUT - i agree whole-heartedly that the cost-account on something like hunting is silly. the experience itself is, indeed, priceless.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2012 at 15:16
I had no idea you could get it that cheap!"
 
Depends on how you work it, Jack.
 
When I hunted with Paul Dubisson and Warren Coco on their lease in Louisina, it was actually a sublease. The land was actually leased to a deer-hunting group, who then sub-let watefowl, small game, etc.
 
What it amounted to is that Paul and Warren were, in effect, carrying the deer hunters.
 
On the other hand, a lot depends on where you are. Farmers around here are just discovering that hunters will pay them for the right to hunt. So lease fees tend to be low, and buy you a lot. The last lease I was involved with, for instance, cost us 15 bucks an acre, and included deer, turkey, upland birds, small game, and varmints, and the land-owner threw in a furnished cabin as well. Plus we could use it as a family playground for picnics and so forth, and fish his pond on a catch-and-release basis.  
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 March 2012 at 05:45

It is pretty difficult to put a price on a sunrise in the marsh, or the flooded timber, or in a deer  stand when the shadows come to life.  The outdoor experience has been a part of our family life for a lot of years now, and it continues to be.  My two grown sons and grandson are ardent hunters and fishermen.  But the meals we've had with the game and fish we've harvested have become as memorable as the events that brought them to the table.  This is truly the icing on the cake.

 
 
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agreed!
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>It is pretty difficult to put a price on a sunrise in the marsh, or the flooded timber, or in a deer  stand when the shadows come to life.<
 
Although if it has to be done, it can be. Such as saving the Achufalaia (sp?) basin a number of years ago.
 
Originally, the Corps of Engineers criteria for taking on a project was based strictly on money. Their charter said, "if the economic benefits, to whomever they accrue, are greater than the economic costs, then the project could be implemented."
 
It was precisely because nobody had put a pricetag on a sunrise that draining the Achafulia was considered feasible. The economic benefit of the farmland created outweighed the economic losses.
 
That was until a bunch of college kid activists got involved. They swarmed all over the region, stopping every vistor and calculating what those people would be spending on recreation in the basin. This included environmental touring, hunting, fishing, and just plain kicking back. Turns out the price of a sunrise actually was greater than creating a new farm, and the basin was saved.
 
Under pressure from environmentalists, of course, the Corps' mandate and operating criterium have since undergone revision.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 March 2012 at 08:54
Guinea fowl ( pintada ) and red partridge ( perdíz ) are lovely and very common fare here in some of the northern Spanish provinces ( La Rioja, Ourense - Galicia, Lugo, Galicia, Toledo, Castilla La Mancha to name a few ). 
 
Historic Foodie, why don´t you post that lovely oven baked pheasant recipe you had given me that I made in November or early December.
 
That venison tenderlion sounds wonderful -- I do not like too much fuss on steak whether it be beef or venison or suckling piglet ( cochinillo ) or lechazo / lechal ( roast milk fed baby lamb ) or kid goat and to roast in its own juices with a bit of herbs, salt and garlic and a bit of white wine -- more or less. I like the taste of the roast meat to come through.  
 
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