My family knows cookbooks make great gifts for me, as evidenced by the overflowing bookshelf in my kitchen. While I appreciate all of them, more than a few become all-time favorites that I turn to again and again. If you’re making a late Christmas wish list or are looking for ideas for the Wild Chef in your family, here are five new cookbooks worth considering.
For hunters, there are three classic dishes that make up the canon of cold-weather comfort foods: chili, stew, and venison roast. That third hearty meal is what we're serving on this week's Food Fight Friday. Reader Neil Selbicky submitted a photo and recipe of a stuffed blacktail roast that looked so good it inspired me last Sunday. As good as my stuffed venison neck tasted, I'll go ahead and concede defeat now. Because bacon.
Whether for hunting camp or the kitchen, sporting cooks are always on the lookout for their next favorite knife. There's just something about a good blade that demands attention, but not just any knife will do. Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to sizes, style, and even looks. So, if you're shopping for a wild chef this season or making your own Christmas list, take note of some of our personal favorites that we're hoping to find under the tree.
The other day I received a cool catalog in the mail from Cabela's that I think Wild Chef readers should know about. I say it's a "catalog," but Hunter's Harvest is not really a catalog—not in the strictest since anyway. Sure there are some butchering and food processing products listed here and there throughout the pages, but all that takes a backstage to comprehensive coverage of the steps necessary to take deer and other game from field to table. I guess you would call it a magalog—part magazine, part catalog.
Hunter's Harvest is a pretty big departure from what hunters are used to getting in the mail from Cabela's (think giant tomes dedicated to every type of clothing and gear a sportsman needs, and a lot of what he doesn't but ends up buying anyway). I used to work at Cabela's and know those catalog aren't cheap to produce or mail, so the company has always put a big emphasis on cost of space and making sure every page of every catalog at least pays for itself. So producing a book that features at least a few pages without any products is a big leap for the company, and I'm sure the decision was not taken lightly. To find out a little bit about the thoughts behind Hunter's Harvest, I touched base with Eric Weiser, director of the food processing category at Cabela's. (Full disclosure: Eric and I are childhood friends and I was a groomsman in his wedding, something I'm pretty sure his wife, and a few bridesmaids, still regret.)
I've written before about my love for axis deer, so I was excited to see a Food Fight submission from Chris Johnson using this mild, tender and downright delicious venison. The fact that he used it in a Marsala recipe makes him deserving of the win this week, but I'm not going to go down without a fight.
Typically, when a deer theft makes the news it's someone stealing a trophy rack or, in the case of this hunter in Minnesota, poaching a buck from a deer farm. But in Texas, deer theft has taken a new turn when police busted a couple for stealing meat. Authorities in Houston reported that a couple there was charged with theft after an officer spotted some suspicious behavior in the wee hours of the morning in early November.
I suspect you've had your fill of leftover turkey sandwiches made from Thanksgiving (good sandwiches of Wonder Bread and lots of mayonnaise and yellow mustard). That's the way I like them anyway. If you still have some turkey left for one last supper tonight, here's one of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey potpie.
One of my favorite things to make from antelope scraps is a big batch of green chili. In fact, I just whipped some up a couple weeks ago, ate it for a few days, and then froze three quarts to get me through the winter. So when Koldkut sent in his photo of antelope green chili, it was an automatic lock to get featured in a Food Fight. But is it good enough to beat my chorizo burrito smothered in the stuff? Well, that’s all up to your votes.
When it comes to wine, those of the Beaujolais family (not to be confused with F&S Gun Nut Phil Bourjaily’s family) have become synonymous with Thanksgiving, so much so it’s kind of cliché. While I generally don’t tend to run with the in-crowd, this is the one time of year I pile on the Beaujolais bandwagon, and here’s why.
1. I’m cheap. Beaujolais are generally cheap as well, especially those of the Nouveau appellation. A bottle of George Duboeuf shouldn’t set you back more than $10-14. Same goes for my favorite, a Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. Expect to spend about $20 or more for anything of the Cru designation.
Eli Cairo is the head salumist and a co-owner of Portland, Oregon’s Olympic Provisions. A first-generation Greek-American with a father who made charcuterie the old-fashioned way, Cairo apprenticed in Europe, where he was exposed to the wonders of working with game meat. Back in Oregon, he’s gained a reputation for making some of the nation's best European style charcuterie from locally sourced ingredients. When he’s not curing meat for his two restaurants and for retailers around the country, he is fly-fishing the Pacific Northwest’s famed waterways or bird hunting with his pointer, Leather. Here Cairo shares his recipe for Hirsh Peffer, a traditional Swiss stew using game meat marinated in wine: