Posts Tagged ‘morel mushrooms’

Wild Game, It’s what’s For Dinner

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Hunt_Meat_Graph1

“Hunters are increasingly motivated by meat,” that’s the headline of a report released on Wednesday by Responsive Management, an international survey research firm. According to their findings, the percentage of hunters identifying “for the meat” as the most important reason for hunting participation rose from 22 percent in 2006 up to 35 percent during this year’s study.

The report attributes the 13 percent climb to three factors; 1) the recession, 2) the locavore movement and 3) the increased participation of females in hunting. Summarizing the findings, Responsive Management concludes our country’s economic downturn has reinvigorated people’s food acquisition through hunting because of its relative affordability (they obviously haven’t accompanied me to Gander Mountain). Their research also indicates women have a slightly greater propensity to choose “for the meat” as a motivation over their male counterparts.

While I agree the economy and gender have played a role in the rise of wild game meat motivation, it’s the “locavore movement” I believe has had the most influence in this quest for game meats. As I look across “pop culture;” from television to magazines to books to restaurants.  I see prime time shows featuring Andrew Zimmern on a squirrel hunt, I see Hank Shaw’s books climbing Amazon’s best sellers list, I read about Lily Raff McCaulou leading Elle magazine on a rabbit hunt and I see restaurant menus featuring quail eggs.  Further, almost every episode of the hugely popular Duck Dynasty series ends with a family dinner around a plate of frog legs or mallard breasts. In fact, I believe this new embrace of wild meats is fostering a greater understanding of hunting across society.

While I’m certain Aldo Leopold never would have imagined Zimmern’s propensity for bug-eating, I do think Zimmern and today’s other locavore leaders can attribute their local food roots direct to Leopold’s 1949 philosophy from A Sand County Almanac:

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” – Aldo Leopold

The obvious hope of organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is today’s locavore trend will take one additional step toward Leopold’s writings – wildlife habitat conservation. Whether you favor beef or venison, chicken or pheasant, the common connector is our land. It is my belief society’s need for food and water will someday soon change our seemingly insatiable appetite to tile our uplands and drain our wetlands.  Or to put it more plainly, local food will lead to local conservation.

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The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

One of my absolute favorite new books of the last year is Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook.  Shaw skillfully blends his personal narrative with unique recipes in this creative exploration of foraging, hunting, and fishing for nature’s “forgotten feast.”  If you made it to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic last February, then you hopefully had the chance to catch Hank’s fantastic presentations on the Outdoor Channel Cooking Stage.

 

It was with Hank’s ethos in mind that I prepared this evening’s meal.  My cluttered countertop included one rooster from a memorable December pheasant hunt in Kansas, a few dozen wild morel mushrooms scored with the assistance of my FAN Outdoors radio partner “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand, and a few stalks of wild asparagus snipped at my secret railroad tracks spot not far from the Pheasants Forever national offices.

 

Here’s the skinny on my Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta

Ingredients

1 Cubed whole pheasant

4 Cups of fresh morel mushrooms

1 Cup of fresh wild asparagus

2 Cups of angel hair pasta

1/2 Cup of heavy cream

½ Stick of butter

1 tsp flour

Olive Oil

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1)      Sauté the cubed pheasant in olive oil until brown, lightly salt

2)      Sauté the morel mushrooms in ¼ stick of butter till reduced (approximately 5 minutes on medium heat)

3)      Boil the angel hair pasta till tender

4)      Melt ¼ stick of butter over low heat, add flour and whisk until blended, add cream, simmer on low heat.

5)      Boil asparagus al dente, so they are crisp

6)      Combine pheasant, mushrooms and pasta

7)      Pour cream sauce over the top

8)      Add asparagus

9)      Serve

Thanks to my sous chef and wife, Meredith, for helping me out in the night’s finished dish.

 

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

Can you Teach your Bird Dog to be a Morel Mushroom Hunter?

Friday, April 27th, 2012

My bird dog didn't find this morel and she appears skeptical about even taking a picture with it.

I love eating morel mushrooms in the spring, but I have a heckuva tough time finding them.  I was lamenting my morel mushroom hunting shortcomings to fellow PF blogger Anthony Hauck last week when he asked the question; “can you teach your bird dog to find morels?”

The premise seems logical, right?  Folks are teaching their bird dogs to hunt deer antler sheds nowadays and they are also being used to find truffles, like the Lab in this story from Oregon.  A quick Google search will provide a few leads like this guy with three mushroom hunting dogs and pictures of an obscene volume of morels he claims the pups helped him find.

YouTube also provides a couple compelling examples of shroom dogging evidence:

By the way, this pup’s name ranks as one of my all-time favorites: Axel Foley, a tribute to Eddie Murphy’s hilarious character in the Beverly Hills Cop series.

So what about the bird dogs across pheasant and quail country; do any of your pups double as a morel mushroom hunter in the spring?  How did you train your shrooming dog?

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

Spring Morel Mushroom & Pheasant Pasta

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Spring Morel Mushroom & Pheasant Pasta

On the outside chance you’ve got one batch of morel mushrooms left from the spring woods and one pheasant still frozen in your freezer, then I’ve got the recipe for dinner tonight. 

Ingredients

1 Pheasant

1 cup fresh morel mushrooms

Bowtie pasta

1 cup fresh spinach

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of butter

2 to 3 tablespoons of garlic & onion spice mix

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Step 1: season pheasant meat (deboned) with garlic & onion spice mix and salt & pepper

Step 2: cook noodles according to packaging

Step 3: lightly sauté morels in butter

Step 4: sauté pheasant meat in olive oil

Step 5: When noodles and morels are done, add spinach to meat pan.  Cover & steam the spinach in the meat pan.

Step 6: Toss noodles, pheasant, spinach and morels into one pan or bowl.

Step 7: Serve & enjoy

Additions you may consider: fresh parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top

(Truth in cooking blogs act, article 27811-12: my wife, Meredith, deserves credit for this particular recipe)

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Thinking Spring

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Have you heard the cackling of roosters this spring?

It’s supposed to break 70 degrees today in Minnesota.  Those temps have got me thinking about spring.  Here’s a mixed bag of what’s rattling around in my head today.

Pheasant Mating Season: Have you heard the roosters cackling?  That’s right, it’s mating season for ringnecks with the all-important nesting season right around the corner.  The peak of the pheasant hatch typically occurs about June 10th.  My fingers are crossed for a warm and dry early June in states like Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota to help the birds rebound after a harsh winter.  In western states, I’m hoping for some early spring rain to green up the vegetation and kick off insect production.  Did you know that pheasant chicks’ main diet right out of the shell is a high protein insect buffet?  It’s true.  Learn more about pheasant nesting season and the ringneck’s lifecycle by following this link.  Also stay tuned to www.PheasantsForever.org.  PF’s super intern Jared Wiklund is putting the polishing touches on Pheasants Forever’s 2009/2010 winter impact assessment.

 

Morel Mushrooms: According to www.Morels.com, folks have already found morels as far north as Ohio and Indiana.  It seems like we may be in for an early mushroom hunting season this year.  Excellent! 

Boat Shopping: My wife Meredith and I are in search of our first boat.  As a household with two non-profit incomes (Meredith works for Ronald McDonald House Charities), it’s going to be a used starter boat.  We’re looking for a skiff that will satisfy our fishing focus of muskies, pike, bass, and panfish . . . with a little sun deck for the gal when the fish aren’t biting.  Hopefully we find one this evening . . . the ice is coming off Bald Eagle Lake today – our neighborhood fishery.

College Sports Predictions:

NCAA Basketball Champ: Michigan State University Spartans

NCAA Hockey Champ: Miami (Ohio) University RedHawks

Timberdoodling: That’s right, Trammell (my German shorthaired pointer), pointed her first woodcock of the spring on a WMA near Forest Lake, Minnesota last evening. 

WMAs closed to dogs on April 16th:  Speaking of bird dogging, please remember that Wildlife Management Areas in Minnesota are closed to dogs on April 16th through July 14th to protect ground nesting birds like pheasants and ducks.  Please be sure to check with your state’s natural resources agency to find out when your public lands are off limits to canines.