Posts Tagged ‘Matt Kucharski’
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Based upon a completely unscientific poll of my friends, family and co-workers, I’ve come to the conclusion most folks wrap a little something under the Fraser fir for their bird dog. Truth be told, my wife already has some fancy doggy biscuits and chew toy pheasants stuffed into our two shorthair’s stockings. Yes, both of our GSPs have stockings hanging from the fireplace mantel.
However, after my recent run of hunting outings involving dog accidents, I’d like to offer a more practical, and potentially life-saving, Christmas idea for you and your bird dog- a sporting dog first aid kit.
Consider, during my last three hunting excursions I’ve been in the company of three separate dog injuries. First, my buddy Matt Kucharski’s shorthair was poked in the eye with a branch during a ruffed grouse hunt that broke off and left a two inch segment inside the pup’s eye cavity resulting in my first trip to the vet for the week.
The very next day, Billy Hildebrand, host of FAN Outdoors radio, and I were pheasant hunting when his fabulous Brittany sliced a massive gash in her paw on some remnant barbed wire bordering a Minnesota WMA. The second vet visit. By the way, vets don’t offer frequent visit punch cards. I asked.
And five days later, Kucharski’s shorthair attempted to eat a dead porcupine to the dismay of her owner. A half hour later, we’d removed two dozen quills. Somehow, I’d miraculously avoided the vet visit hat trick.
Add my recent string of bad bird dog juju to my young shorthair’s own porcupine encounter earlier this year and my older shorthair’s penchant for skunk sprayings, and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s inevitable for any dog owner to go through too many seasons without a bird dog medical emergency.
While the sporting dog first aid kit offered in the Pheasants Forever online store rings the cash register with rather a large $85 mark, I’ve found it’s virtually impossible to assemble this kit’s components individually under the sticker price. In the end, it’s a small investment on a critical piece of gear most of us believe we’ll never need, but wish like heck we had when an accident occurs.
NOTE: Items purchased through the Pheasants Forever online store by the end of Thursday, December 13th will be guaranteed arrival prior to Christmas.
Will your bird dog find something under your tree on Christmas morning?
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
At the request of @Noah B, a commenter of my “Wild Game Dinner Parties” blog post, I attained my buddy Matt Kucharski’s spectacular Peking Pheasant recipe. Matt is a savvy public relations professional, a dynamic adjunct college professor and a skilled wingshooter; however, his true calling may be in the kitchen tied up in an apron as a wild game chef. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with Matt’s Peking Pheasant preparation. Here you go!
Ingredients (serves 3-4 four):
- 1 lb pheasant breast, cut into ½ inch by 1 inch slices (cubed also fine). Thigh meat can be used to stretch, but can be chewy.
- 3 tbsp corn starch or flour (corn starch preferred)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp frying oil (canola or vegetable)
- (Optional) 1 whole sweet red bell pepper, julienned
- (Optional) 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 2 minced garlic cloves or tbsp of minced jar garlic, separated in half
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup House of Tsang Spicey Szechuan Stir Fry sauce (available in most grocery stores – other brands can be substituted but this one works well)
- (Optional) 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
Sauce: Mix 1 tbsp garlic, ketchup, soy sauce, stir fry sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Brown sugar gives the final dish a little bit more caramelizing and a hint of sweetness.
- In a wok, heat oil and lightly sauté remaining garlic.
- Mix corn starch, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add small amounts of pheasant to coat and set aside.
- Oil is hot enough when a small piece of pheasant sizzles the moment it is dropped in. Gradually add small amounts of pheasant and stir fry until golden brown and slightly crisp, keeping pieces separate to create individual “nuggets”. Add more oil as needed, and set aside finished pieces on paper towel.
- When pheasant is cooked, remove from wok and stir fry pepper and beans until barely tender
- Add pheasant back into wok and lightly stir fry until warm
- Add sauce and toss to coat all contents and heat until sauce bubbles.
Serve hot with rice and lo mein noodles.
Sunday, January 8th, 2012
Every holiday season, my wife and I host a party we call “Pheasant Feast.” In fact, last month we hosted Pheasant Feast IX . . . Yes, we’re now using Roman Numerals in our invitations. Nevertheless, this has become an annual tradition and a lot of fun for our friends and family. I’ve even enlisted my hunting buddy Matt Kucharski as co-chef for the event. This year, we were joined by two dozen guests for a night of taste-testing comprised exclusively of wild game.
The 2011 Pheasant Feast menu included:
- · Peking Pheasant
- · Pheasant a l’Orange
- · Poached Blueberry Ruffed Grouse
- · Roast Moose with Coffee Gravy
- · Pheasant Tortellini with Brussels sprouts
- · Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
- · Duck Rumaki
- · Jalapeno Pheasant Poppers
- · Tenderloin of Venison
- · 7-Up Northern Pike
- · Pheasant Pesto Pizza
- · Desserts, Beer & Vino
As you can imagine, some of these dishes turned out better than others when more than ten preparations are on the grill, stovetop and oven. The low spot of this roster was certainly the 7-Up Northern Pike . . . I won’t be reproducing that funky fish anytime soon. However, I plan to do my best to replicate Matt’s Peking Pheasant recipe this weekend. All in all, leftovers were non-existent which I consider a good indication of success.
As I reflect on this menu, I naturally think about the camaraderie of a day spent afield with friends and family pheasant hunting. However, what Pheasant Feast also reminds me of is the power wild game has of bringing family and friends together around the table. For me, the meal is almost, almost as important as the hunt and also nearly as fun.
What about you, have you ever hosted a wild game dinner party?