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  • December 27, 2011

    Recipe: Hoppin’ John with Venison Sausage

    By David Draper

    When I was very young, all my mom’s family would gather at my grandparent’s house on New Year’s Eve for a big food-related feast. Each year would feature food from a different country, such as Chinese one year or Mexican the next. (Chinese and Mexican were about as foreign as you could get in western Nebraska in the mid-1970s.) I don’t remember much from those meals, other than gorging on fortune cookies, which I still love today.

    The extended Richards clan isn’t alone in instituting some type of New Year’s food tradition. Many of the most popular ones are symbolic of peoples’ hopes for economic growth and progress in the coming year. Some folks eat only pork, because pigs root forward, versus poultry, which scratch backwards. Other foods are featured for their resemblance to money, such as greens and cabbage, or beans which are said to represent coins.

  • December 23, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Holiday Potluck Party

    By Colin Kearns

    We have a terrific holiday tradition at the Field & Stream and Outdoor Life office: the Potluck Party. Every year, all of the departments from both magazines get together for a few hours in the office lobby, and everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share. Being that we all love to fish and hunt, the main ingredients of these dishes often feature either the fish or meat that we’ve been lucky enough to gather over the year. It really is a great time. So, for today’s Food Fight, we though it would be fun to showcase the wild dishes that were shared at this year’s party.

    As always, enjoy. And happy holidays.

  • December 22, 2011

    My Favorite Cookbook of the Year

    By Colin Kearns

    The mission of John Besh’s new cookbook, My Family Table, is “a passionate plea for home cooking.” That’s a nice sentiment, home cooking. Home cooking means cooking at home with family. Home cooking means cooking what you have at home—be it a deer you hunted, a walleye you caught, or a winter squash you grew. Home cooking means sharing a meal at home, at your family table. Home cooking is the best kind of cooking, and My Family Table is the best cookbook I’ve seen in a long time.

    If you’ve read the December-January issue of Field & Stream, you already have one of the recipes from this book—the duck stewed with apples and turnips, which Besh shared with us because he loves to hunt and read this magazine. I’ve tried that dish, and it’s one of the most delicious meals I enjoyed all year.

  • December 19, 2011

    Recipe: How to Make Duck Soup

    By David Draper

    Last week’s roast duck is this week’s duck soup, as I used the butchered carcass and some celery trimmings I’d been collecting to make a rich, flavorful stock. The addition of the meat pulled from the simmered carcass, along with some mushrooms and a few vegetables, makes an easy and hearty soup that will serve as several lunches this week.

    After simmering the stock for several hours, straining it and letting it cool overnight in order to remove the fat that hardens on the surface, this recipe couldn’t be any easier. Just add the ingredients below to a large saucepan, simmer for eight to ten minutes until the mushrooms and noodles are soft. Serve piping hot, garnished with some chopped cilantro and sliced jalapenos. The only thing I wished I would have done was poached an egg in the broth for a little something extra.

  • December 16, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Goose vs. Duck

    By David Draper

    Now that there’s a deer in the freezer and the pheasants are starting to flush really wild, I can turn my attention to the abundant waterfowl that’s moved into Nebraska’s Sugar Valley. I’ve managed to get out a couple times within the last week and we’ve had a couple of good shoots, filling the bird strap with Canadas and a duck or two. So keeping with the current theme, let’s pit the two birds against each other in this week’s Food Fight.

  • December 12, 2011

    How to Make Spiced Cider

    By David Draper

    From the cool autumn nights of late September on through the holiday season, a hot cup of spiced apple cider can melt away any chill. That sweet, peppery bite warms the stomach and soothes the soul. Splashed with a little bourbon or brandy, it even adds a twinkle to the eye.

    Warm a three quart pot over a medium heat. Toss in a pinch of whole cloves, a spoonful of black peppercorn, and two cinnamon sticks.

    If you happen to have a few allspice berries (I never do), throw them in the pot, too.

    After about a minute or two, your kitchen should start smelling like autumn. Pour in two quarts of apple cider. (Plain apple juice will do, if you must.) Raise the heat and bring the mix just to, but not past, the boiling point. Reduce the heat to low.

  • December 9, 2011

    Food Fight Friday: Cranberry BBQ Venison Burger vs. Country-Fried Antelope

    By David Draper

    We’ve been getting some great reader submissions for Food Fight Friday, which lets me off the hook as I’ve been a little too busy hunting lately to do much serious cooking. (Yet I’ve still been packing on the holiday pounds. Go figure.) This week is an All-American battle of two great classics: a cranberry-venison burger from Susan Rose, whose corned venison Reuben last week put up a valiant fight, and chicken-fried antelope from Wild Chef reader Andrew Metzger.

    Susan's Cranberry BBQ Burger Vs. Andrew's Chicken-Fried Antelope

  • December 8, 2011

    Do You Age Your Gamebirds?

    By David Draper

    If any of you are Pheasants Forever members, you might have seen an article I wrote about aging pheasants in the most recent issue of their PF Journal. In my research for the article, I found there is no consensus among hunters or cooks neither on whether or not it’s necessary nor the details of how long and at what temperature to hang birds.

    The science behind aging says that enzymes start to break down the meat as the time after death increases, tenderizing the meat and making it more flavorful. According to the North Dakota State university’s Wild Side of the Menu guide to wild game, when aged at 34 to 37 degrees, meat increases in tenderness at a constant rate from one to 14 days—then plateaus. I don’t know anyone who hangs birds that long, or at that cool of temperature. Most sources I’ve found set the ideal temperature anywhere from 40 to 50 degrees. Aging birds in temperatures warmer than 60 degrees invites the risk of introducing harmful bacteria into the process.

  • December 5, 2011

    Pig Throat Anyone? Eating the Offal Bits

    By David Draper

    In the town near where I goose hunt, there’s a little taquería that serves the best burritos for just $3. You can get them filled with just about any traditional Mexican meat you can imagine—from abodaba to tripe—with my favorite being la lengua, or tongue. Favorite, that is, until last week when I saw a new ingredient listed—buche, which was explained to me in broken English as being part of the pig’s stomach. Well, come to find out, it’s actually esophagus, but I was intrigued enough to try it, and let me tell you, it was delicious. So much so that I’m more excited for my next buche burrito than I am for the actual goose hunting.

  • December 2, 2011

    Food Fight Friday - Reader Edition: Pot Pie vs. Reuben

    By Colin Kearns

    by David Draper

    We’re starting December off right with a food fight between two Wild Chef readers and seasoned wild-game cooks. Professional chef Tristan Russell faces off against food blogger Susan Rose with two great looking dishes. I haven’t decided which one is my favorite, so help me pick this week’s winner by voting below.

    Wild Bird Pot Pie Vs. Venison Rueben