Posts Tagged ‘wild game cooking’

Recipe: Pheasant Harvest Soup

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Pheasant Harvest Soup ready to serve. Photo by Bob St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

Pheasant Harvest Soup ready to serve. Photo by Bob St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

I realize pheasant breasts are the “Holy Grail” of wild game succulence, but don’t overlook a rooster’s thighs and legs. And for goodness sake, don’t just breast the bird and garbage the remainder. Pheasant legs are certainly tougher to cook, but a rooster’s legs and thighs actually produce quite a lot of tasty dark meat when handled with care.

Perhaps the easiest way to put those pheasant legs to good use is in soup.  As I’ve written before, I enjoy spending my summer in the garden. Consequently, I find great pleasure in marrying early season roosters with late harvested garden veggies.

While I’m not skilled in making my own stock, this soup recipe is tasty and simple.

Ingredients

  • 2 sets of pheasant legs
  • ½ cup of wild rice
  • 3 cups of sliced carrots (I am a fan of planting multi-colored carrots in my garden)
  • 2 cups of diced potatoes
  • 2 sliced jalepenos
  • ½ cup of Petey’s original seasoning (substitute your favorite soup seasoning or boullion cubes)
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup of Brussels sprouts

Steps

1)      Start by slow boiling the pheasant legs in water for roughly 15 minutes / or slow cooking in a crock pot for an hour.

2)      Remove the legs from the broth and let cool.

3)      Reduce the remaining broth to simmer.

4)      Cook wild rice for 45 minutes in broth on medium simmer.

5)      Add Petey’s spice to broth.

6)      Add carrots and potatoes to the broth after wild rice has cooked for 30 minutes.

7)      After the pheasant legs have cooled, pick the meat off the bones being careful to remove any BBs, feathers and tendons from the lower leg meat.

8)      Add the pulled leg meat to the soup.

9)      Simmer the soup on low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes as the flavors mix together.

10)  Dish the soup into bowls on top of fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  This will ensure these green veggies stay crunchy and retain their color.

11)  Serve with your favorite soup cracker.

This preparation is definitely not fancy, but it’s certainly not difficult.  And I promise, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll begin looking forward to saving the legs from future roosters.

 

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.

BOOK REVIEW: Hank Shaw’s “Duck, Duck, Goose”

Friday, November 1st, 2013

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

Over my careers working for Pheasants Forever, in the front office of a minor league baseball team, and co-hosting on KFAN radio, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some relatively famous people.  (WARNING – NAME DROPS COMING)  I’ve had the good fortune to pitch baseballs to the likes of Bill Murray and Andrew Dawson, play catch with Alan Trammell and Rollie Fingers, manage press pools for President George W. Bush, organize meet & greets with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and interview four different members of the Swamp People. Out of all those experiences, I’ve come to value a person’s genuine friendliness above all else.

 

While Hank Shaw doesn’t yet have the name recognition of a Grammy winner, he recently added a James Beard award to his resume as the country’s best food blogger. More importantly, Hank is a guy anyone could drink a beer with while talking about the day’s bird hunt and becoming fast friends. Hank has a way of emulating your oldest drinking buddy.

 

Much to Hank’s chagrin, I always attribute his friendliness to the fact he served as a political reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press while Jesse “The Body” Ventura was Governor of Minnesota and then as beat reporter for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before embracing his culinary career. Anyone having to endure those tenures as a journalist was bound to come out the other end either jaded by the world or able to see the good in humanity under any situation. Thankfully, Hank escaped as the later.

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Hank through his appearances at National Pheasant Fest where he speaks on the event’s Cooking Stage. During the show when he’s not speaking, Hank hangs out in the Press Room with me and my cohorts. He tells us of his favorite hunts, evening’s dining plans and the scuttlebutt across America’s wild game food scene. More importantly, he jumps in and helps whenever he can. On a moment’s notice, he’s helped me do a live pheasant cooking demonstration for a television station and then the next moment he’s helping haul boxes to a special banquet event upstairs. Want to grab a beer after the day, Hank’s buying.

 

And did I mention, he won the James Beard Award this year as the country’s best food blogger. Basically, he’s the MVP of food writers. And his new book Duck, Duck, Goose lives up to the standard you’d expect coming from the Heisman of honker cooking. Duck, Duck, Goose is filled with exciting recipes featuring wild edibles like morel mushrooms and ramps, as well as fun new approaches like duck sliders and buffalo duck wings.

 

However what I found most interesting was Hank’s review of different species of ducks and geese as table fare. Did you know a specklebelly goose is nicknamed “ribeye in the sky” for its exquisiteness on the plate? I’ve heard the sandhill crane called the ribeye or “flying fillet” before, but never the speck. Hank’s favorite waterfowl for dinner at his own home, the canvasback.

 

Duck, Duck, Goose is a marvelous addition to any bird hunter’s collection. It’s filled with beautiful photography and a good mix of both simple and complex dishes. It’s hard bound and perfectly suited as a gift for the upcoming holiday season. Equally as important, Hank is an independently employed good guy. Your purchase of this book doesn’t furnish a beach house in the Bahamas or a bank account in the Caymans. Your purchase of this book helps a guy like you pay for his hunting license, a box of Prairie Storm and a six pack of suds to wash down a dinner of roast duck.

 

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

Hank is slated to speak on the cooking stage again at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee on February 14, 15 & 16, 2014. His topics include:

  • Happy Hour: Pairing beer & wine with wild game
  • Getting the most from your upland birds
  • Wild game sausage and other curing techniques

 

Saturday Morning FAN Outdoors Radio Interview 

And lastly, you can listen to Hank with me this Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors. “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand and I will be interviewing Hank about the new book and his fall hunting & book tour across the country. I’ll also do my best to persuade Hank to begin writing an upland-oriented book for his third hardbound endeavor. So far, he’s refuted my advances, but we’ll see if 100,000 watt radio can change his mind. Tune in at 6:30AM this Saturday on FM 100.3 or anywhere in the world at www.KFAN.com.

 

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.

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.

Blackened Quail

Monday, November 26th, 2012

A trio of blackened quail breasts complimented by Brussels sprouts and mushrooms

A few months back, a friend of mine opened up to me about his secret passion for woodcock hunting.  I, too, have an undeniable love affair with the American timberdoodle.  This migrating aspen and alder tornado is an awesome game bird for pointing dogs and an under-appreciated challenge for wingshooters.

 

This same anonymous friend shared with me a woodcock recipe to transform the timberdoodle from a meat equated to flying liver into a white linen delicacy.  I’ve bagged 15 woodcock this season and sautéed every single one to rave reviews employing his recipe.  Unfortunately, I’ve exhausted my timberdoodle freezer reserves; consequently, last evening I substituted Nebraska’s Rooster Road Trip quail for woodcock in my newfound favorite recipe.  Whether you’ve got timberdoodle, quail, ruffed grouse or a pheasant breast in the freezer, I believe you’ll find this recipe easy, tasty and addictive.

 

Ingredients

 

Steps

1)      Brush the quail breasts generously with olive oil

2)      Liberally sprinkle the breasts with Chef Paul Prudhommes blackening seasoning

3)      Sauté the breasts on medium-high heat in a frying pan for 3 or 4 minutes

4)      Flip the breasts over and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes

5)      Serve with a side of Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and wild rice

 

 

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

Pheasant Tortellini with Brussels Sprouts

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Pheasant Tortellini with Brussels sprouts at the mid-point

“Eat your vegetables Bobby,” was the nightly ultimatum from Mom while growing up.  Green beans, peas, spinach and even broccoli presented no problems in meeting her demands, but my delicate childhood palate did have one little green nemesis – Brussels sprouts.

 

Like most kids, I “guaranteed” vomiting if I were made to eat something as detestable as a Brussels sprout.  And also like most kids, I’ve grown to love foods I scorned as a youngster.  In the case of Brussels sprouts, I have a pheasant dish to thank for my new found love affair with these green little nuggets of goodness.  The pheasant dish of which I speak is pheasant tortellini with Brussels sprouts and I developed it on a whim while grabbing some pre-packaged pasta fixings in the cold case of my local grocer.  I also prepared this easy recipe for Anthony & Andrew while on this year’s Rooster Road Trip.

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

 

Preparation Instructions

1. Add butter to a large frying pan and melt.  When the butter is melted add pheasant meat to the frying pan and sauté till the pheasant begins to brown.

2. Sauté the mushrooms in butter in a separate frying pan.

3. Likewise sauté the Brussels sprouts in butter in a third frying pan until they begin to caramelize.

4. Combine the pheasant, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts into one large frying pan and reduce heat to low.

5. Boil the tortellini as instructed on packaging

6. Combine cooked tortellini with pheasant, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts.

7. Pour Alfredo cream sauce over all ingredients.

8. Stir everything, so Alfredo sauce is evenly distributed and simmer uncovered for three minutes.

9. Serve & Enjoy

 

 

I realize this isn’t fine dining and some culinary purists will rip me for covering up the delightful taste of pheasant in cream sauce.  I get it.  Nonetheless, this is a very easy dish to make, and a really palatable dish for those folks that may be new and tentative to eating wild game.  It’s a great way to walk them through the wild game door with little risk of being turned off.  Or in my case, it’s a great way to learn to enjoy Brussels sprouts.

 

The finished product after the long Rooster Road brings you back home

Now that I’ve tackled Brussels sprouts, I think I’m finally ready to confront lima beans.  Anyone got a pheasant recipe that includes lima beans?

 

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

Pheasant Leg Soup

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

A ladle of pheasant leg soup will warm you all over on a cold winter’s day

I realize a pheasant breast is the “Holy Grail” of wild game succulence, but don’t overlook a rooster’s thighs and legs.  And for goodness sake, don’t just breast the bird and garbage the remainder.  Pheasant legs are certainly tougher to cook, but a rooster’s legs and thighs actually produce quite a lot of tasty dark meat when handled with care.

 

Perhaps the easiest way to put those pheasant legs to good use is in soup, which is exactly what I prepared last evening with my opening weekend’s rooster legs and the last of my garden’s produce.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 sets of pheasant legs
  • 3 cups of sliced carrots
  • 2 cups of sliced celery
  • 1 small tin of mushrooms
  • 1 small can of corn kernels
  • 1 small tin of sliced water chestnuts
  • 10 chicken bouillon cubes or chicken stock
  • Small box of your favorite noodles (shells, O’s, etc.)

 

Steps

1)      Start by slow boiling the pheasant legs in water for roughly 15 minutes.

2)      Remove the legs from the water and let cool.

3)      Reduce the remaining water to a low simmer.

4)      Cook noodles as instructed on the box in a separate pot.

5)      Add bouillon cubes and additional water to the remaining water from the boiled pheasant leg pan after the water has cooled a bit.

6)      Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, corn and water chestnuts to the pot of simmering water.

7)      After the pheasant legs have cooled, pick the meat off the bones being careful to remove any tendons from the lower leg meat.

8)      Add the pulled leg meat to the soup.

9)      Add the cooked noodles to the soup.

10)  Simmer the soup on low, stirring occasionally for about an hour.

11)  Serve with your favorite soup cracker.

 

This preparation is definitely not fancy, but it’s certainly not difficult.  And, I promise, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll begin looking forward to saving the legs from future roosters.

 

Do you have a favorite pheasant leg recipe?  Send it my way!

 

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

Grapefruit Honey Pheasant: Do Not Try This at Home

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The early stages of grapefruit honey pheasant

A Pheasants Forever chapter volunteer from Minnesota recently flattered me complimenting this blog, and in particular, my writing focused on wild game cooking.  This gentleman even suggested I consider giving a few presentations on the Cooking Stage at National Pheasant Fest.

 

Shortly after that compliment, I dug out a plucked pheasant from the basement chest freezer and was inspired to create Grapefruit Honey Pheasant.  To my thinking, honey, with its sweetness and caramelizing nature, was a safe bet to start the recipe.  And without the natural complimentary ingredient of oranges in our fridge, I grabbed for its citrus cousin, a grapefruit.  That’s where I made a “bitter” mistake.  While the photos may mislead you to believe I’ve accomplished a new pheasant dining masterpiece, I’ll warn you not to try this recipe at home.  The bitter citrus of the grapefruit simply did not marry well with the honey’s sweetness.  While Meredith and I were able to finish the meal without a pizza delivery necessary, I wouldn’t recommend replicating this experiment in your own roaster.

Applying the honey

In the end, my Grapefruit Honey Pheasant proved to me, my wife and my bird dogs that my cooking skills are still elementary at best and certainly not ready for stage time exposure.  That’s okay.  Wild game cooking, er . . .  experimenting, is one of my favorite aspects of the hunting cycle.  Conservation leads to wildlife habitat, wildlife habitat leads to better hunting, good bird dogs and straight shooting put more meat in the freezer, and a little experimenting in the kitchen leads to good wild game eating . . . most of the time.

So, I know I’m not the only amateur chef to bomb in the kitchen.  What’s your own “best” wild game recipe flop?

 

Looks better than it tastes

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

 

 

Prairie Chicken Stir Fry

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Cubed prairie chicken and some fresh garden vegetables

Depending upon what state you’re focused upon, there are approximately 60 days left on the calendar until we’re able to chase birds behind our flushers, pointers and retrievers.  That’s right; this is your official two month warning.  In fact, I’m excited to report my calendar is starting to fill in with September ruffed grouse hunts, as well as an early prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse hunt.

 

Consequently, I’ve begun to inventory what’s left in my chest freezer.  A huge pet-peeve of mine is leaving meat in the freezer into a new hunting season, so I was happy to see a pair of pheasants and one meal of quail is all that stands between me and an empty freezer.

 

Prairie chicken begins to brown

Last week, I pulled out two Kansas prairie chickens from the freezer then headed into the garden looking for fresh ingredients.  The result of my search was a very simply prepared prairie chicken stir fry.  Here you go:

 

Ingredients

  • 2 whole prairie chickens (deboned and cubed)
  • 1 small zucchini sliced into small triangles
  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 2 cups of snow peas
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 1 head of broccoli diced
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small green bell pepper sliced into small strips
  • 1 bottle of House of Tsang Korean Teriyaki Stir-Fry sauce

 

Cherry tomatoes add some nice color

Steps

1)      Sauté the cubed prairie chicken in olive oil until browned.

2)      Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for approximately three minutes on medium heat

3)      Add all the green vegetables and simmer covered.  (I like to make sure the vegetables are still crispy when served, so this only takes a couple of minutes.)

4)      Add bottle of House of Tsang Korean Teriyaki Stir-Fry Sauce and simmer for two minutes till warm.

5)      Serve over rice.

 

Veggies added

After slicing and dicing the vegetables, this recipe literally took minutes to prepare.  And as you’ve probably already figured, this preparation works just as well with quail, pheasant or any other fowl in your freezer.  Enjoy!

 

Serve over rice

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

 

 

The Mindful Carnivore Delivers Philosophy High in Protein and Conservation

Monday, June 18th, 2012

 

If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you know my leisure reading often focuses on the connection between hunting and food.  Steven Rinella’s two novels, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo, first hooked me on the subject.  Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook and Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter extended my interest in the theme.  My latest exploration of the topic was Tovar Cerulli’s new book The Mindful Carnivore.

 

Admittedly, I was skeptical beginning Cerulli’s book.  The jacket cover promoted the book as a vegan’s journey into hunting, so I was on alert for a disingenuous story of incongruous ideologies to simply turn a couple bucks.  My fears were quickly calmed with Cerulli’s scholarly treatment of the subject, and ultimately I became fascinated with his internal struggles coming to terms with the decision to put the killing of his family’s food into his own hands.  Like Aldo Leopold, Cerulli came to recognize the problems associated with society’s lack of understanding about food and its connection to land.

 

The Mindful Carnivore

What I enjoyed most about The Mindful Carnivore was the amount of focus Cerulli spent on the connection between wildlife habitat conservation, hunting and food.  While Rinella, Shaw and Pellegrini all addressed conservation to varying degrees, Cerulli dove deep into the topic and even held conservation up as the reason hunting made sense to him over vegetarianism.  In the process, he came to the realization that all food – vegetables and meat –result in the death of animals one way or another.  As you can imagine from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s perspective, I was excited to read Cerulli’s compelling arguments for a conservation ethic when making food choices.

 

The only trouble I had with the book was the majority of Cerulli’s hunting focused on whitetails.  While it’s hard to argue with the volume of meat and taste of venison from a deer, I’d have liked to read about Cerulli’s perspective of hunting birds in cooperation with animals- dogs.  Perhaps that’s part of his future plans.

 

Although this is his first book, Cerulli writes with the confidence of a seasoned vet.  His voice is engaging, his rationale logical, and his research thorough.  Overall, The Mindful Carnivore was a really easy, thought-provoking read.

 

 

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

 

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.