Friday, October 30, 2009

Love Me Some Sloppy Doe's

As hunting season progresses, and I feel ever so much closer to bringing home a nice plump deer or elk, I've been trying to go through my stash of canned venison from last year. And my hands-down favorite dish to prepare with canned venison stew chunks (which fall apart at the touch of a fork) is "Sloppy Doe's." If you can't figure out what dish I'm spinning off of, may God help you.

So, dust off a quart jar of a previous season's deer or elk and be ready to eat in five minutes. This is a great go-to for quick dinners or one-pot campsite grub.

Sloppy Doe's

1/4 pound bacon, chopped in small pieces
1 quart venison stew meat
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 Tbl. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbls. minced garlic
1 Tbls. prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 c. ketchup
14 oz. can of diced or stewed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large cast iron skillet, cook bacon pieces until crispy. Drain a little of the grease (Note: Not too much. Bacon grease is the true nectar of the gods!). Add chopped onions and cook until almost clear over medium heat.

In a blender (or Vita-Mix), add everything else except the venison and blend until smooth.

Drain some of the water from the jar of venison and add meat to bacon/onion mix and heat through thoroughly (until all liquids are gone and meat just starts to look "dry"). Now add the sauce from the blender, a little at a time, until you get the "sloppiness" you desire and heat through.

Garnish with grilled onions (optional) and serve on warm burger buns with your favorite sides and beverage.

Sloppy Doe's on Foodista

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bring Home the Bones

One thing every hunter should know is how to deal with a dead carcass after the bullet or arrow has done its dirty work. This video is one of the highest rated on YouTube. Packed with over ten minutes of useful information - gutting, aging, skinning a deer, etc. This is a great go-to video. But beware: It's not for a the faint of heart and should not be viewed at dinner time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don't Sideline Your Condiments


Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our main dishes never make it beyond being just okay. When this happens, we should not be afraid to turn to our sidekicks often kept on the sidelines. I'm talking about the "sauveur du repas" - condiments.

This past week the temps dropped and it snowed, so I gathered the remaining green tomatoes from our garden. Being raised in the South, I've had my fair share of green tomato dishes, from simple fried green tomatoes to Paula Deen's insanely fabulous Green Tomato Cake with Brown Butter Icing.

Since most of our green tomatoes were small, and I wanted something I could both serve with venison or put in jars and give away, I explored new recipes for green tomatoes. I came across something I had never heard of before - Green Tomato Ketchup.

I played around with the recipe a little until I got it where I wanted it - less sweet and more twang! I hope you enjoy it!

Green Tomato Ketchup

3 lbs. green tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs. white onions, chopped coarsely
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbl. dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsps mixed pickling spices
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup honey

Slice the green tomatoes and onions and place in a large pot with black pepper, ground mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Place pickling spices in a small cheesecloth bag and add to the pot. Pour in white vinegar cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours. Then puree hot mixture in a blender and strain back into the original pot through a mesh strainer. Bring to puree to a boil and then add honey.

Immediately fill 3 sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space, and process in a boiling water bath in your deep canning pot for five minutes.

Let jars of green tomato ketchup stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Store unopened jars in a cool dry place up to one year. Refrigerate green tomato ketchup after opening.

Bring out a small dish of this ketchup next time you serve burgers or brats and your guests will beg you for the recipe!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pheasants Forever...tasty

For those who know me well, know that I really enjoy Geocaching, which is a "techie" hobby that uses a GPS to hunt and find hidden caches all over the world. As an aside, I also have a strong affinity for Garmin GPS units, owning at least a half dozen different units. Currently I'm using the Garmin Colorado 300, and I really like it.

Anyway, I was recently contacted by a fellow geocacher because I found his geocache on my way home from Lewistown, Montana and the Montana Trappers Rendezvous (see previous post). His cache is set up as a fundraising tool for non-profit organizations. According to his criteria, I had earned the honor to choose next year's beneficiary for money raised in the cache.

I thought long and hard about an appropriate organization. I settled on Pheasants Forever, primarily because I had such fond memories of pheasant hunting in that area a couple years ago.

It also seemed appropriate that I include a delicious recipe for pheasant in this week's posting. This recipe is a modified version of an Emeril Lagasse offering on Food Network.

Roasted Pheasant with Citrus-Jack Sauce

1/4 cup Jack Daniels
2 oranges, cut into 1/8ths
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 (2 to 2 1/2-pound) pheasants
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, halved

Citrus-Jack Sauce:
1 cup Jack Daniels
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 cup red currant jelly
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne
Serving suggestion: Wild rice

For the pheasant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss the oranges with 3 tablespoons of the Jack Daniels. Rub the pheasants with the remaining 1 tablespoon of whisky and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stuff each pheasant with the oranges and 1 sprig of fresh thyme, and close the cavities with skewers. Wrap the breast of each pheasant with the bacon and set in a roasting pan. Roast the pheasants until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees F., about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes.

For the Citrus-Jack Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the whisky, orange juice, and orange zest, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 50 percent in volume to about 3/4 cup. Add the currant jelly, salt, and cayenne, and stir well.

Cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a decorative bowl. Cool slightly before serving.

Remove the bacon from the pheasant breasts, if desired, and cut each bird in half. Discard the oranges and thyme in the cavity. Serve hot with Ctirus-Jack Sauce and wild rice.

Photo: National Geographic