Food Fight Friday: Beaver vs. Kidneys

Colin and I are really excited to bring you this week's Food Fight Friday, which includes a couple of firsts. As reader Levi Banks so eloquently put it in his e-mail from earlier this week, "You don't see a lot of beaver on this blog," he wrote. "It is a family website after all." A few inappropriate jokes aren't going to keep us from featuring his awesomely amazing beaver posole (pronounced, poh-SOH-lay), though.

Battling the beaver this week is another blog first: kidney stew from Neil Selbicky. We've seen heart and talked about liver, but this is the first--and hopefully not the last--time we get to feature this often forgotten offal here.

Finally, for you readers asking for Food Fight recipes, which often aren't available, you'll be happy to note both Levi and Neil provide cooking instructions with their photos.

Levi Banks' Beaver Posole

A friend of a friend does some trapping, and so I ended up with some beaver meat in my possession. Let's just get this right out there: plenty of puns have been made. I've been wanting to make a posole for a while and had intended to use venison, but you don't just have beaver fall in your lap every day, and if you do you had better do something with it, so I decided to use the beaver instead. I coated the cubed meat with some masa harina and browned it in some bacon grease, then sauteed a bunch of chopped onion and garlic. When those were soft I added cumin, coriander, and oregano, put the meat back in along with some cans of green chiles, a can of hominy, and some diced red pepper, then some water and chicken stock to cover. I put the lid on and let it simmer low for a couple of hours. Garnished with some sliced radish, avocado, and cilantro, the dish was really good.

Neil Selbicky's Kidney Stew

Dawn of Oregon's opening day found me sitting in the high mountains opposite a clear-cut ridge. At about 6:45, I spotted a good 2x2 blacktail buck skylined near the top of the ridge, before he disappeared. Quickly two smaller bucks came along behind him. I glassed these two as they slowly took their time moving down ridge. Suddenly the good 2x2 reappeared, moving further down ridge and away from me. I scoped him and finally got off a shot as he passed between a couple small brushy patches. I put him down at 206 yards with a good clean shot. I missed all the internal organs, so we enjoyed liver, heart, and kidneys for days after the hunt. We had the kidneys the next morning to celebrate the hunt gone well. An old family Thanksgiving recipe for lamb kidneys, or in this case, venison kidneys: Cut up the kidneys and onions and saute in butter and a little Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry. Simmer and, if cooked the night before, then store in refrigerator. In the morning add hot, chopped hard-boiled egg (one per person) to kidneys, reheat and add more sherry. The hot, egg yolk breaks down a little and helps create a rich sauce. Serve over buttered toast.

Don't be intimidated by this week's Food Fight. Even if you don't have any beaver or organ meats, we'd still love to see what's cooking in your kitchen. Send a photo to fswildchef@gmail.com and we just might feature it here.