Category Archives: Wild Game
Antelope Spare Ribs (Sous Vide)
My love of cooking wild game meats is what led me to the sous vide method many years ago. I have prepared everything from beaver to camel using my sous vide device. Antelope meat is not new to me as I have tried tenderloin and steaks that were sent to me by friends of mine who hunt. Read the rest of this entry
Take a Walk On The Wild Side III: Southern Fried Python
When most people hear the word “snake”, the last thing on their mind is food. Believe it or not, eating snake in the United States is not all that uncommon.
Venison Tenderloin w/Blackberry Sauce
Venison has always been one of my favorite wild game meats. More and more these hunted animals are popping up in local supermarkets around the U.S. And while the number of hunters has declined in the last few years, farmed game is growing in popularity. National organizations representing deer and elk farmers are reporting rapid growth and substantial economic impact of their industries, indicating consumer demand. Read the rest of this entry
A Taste Of India… Goat Vindaloo
Living in NYC, I have access to all types of authentic food from all over the world. If you ask me what is my all-time favorite type of cuisine, I’d tell you Indian food. Read the rest of this entry
Buttermilk Fried Rabbit
While some of us view rabbits as a cuddly and furry pet, then there are those of us that view them as a food source. In fact, rabbits have been raised for food for thousands of years. I tried it for the first about 25 years ago and I’ve been hooked on it since then. Frying it is my favorite way to cook it, especially after letting it marinate overnight in buttermilk and herbs. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
North African Camel Meatballs
Happy New Year everyone! We are going to kick off the year with a yummy recipe using camel meat. People always ask me, “what does camel taste like?”. I can only best describe it as slightly gamey and a cross between beef and lamb. Read the rest of this entry
Foie Gras au Torchon
One could never accuse me of being fancy when it comes to food and cooking. But there was something about the idea of preparing one of the world’s luxury food items that sounded like a good challenge to try at home… Read the rest of this entry
Sriracha & Honey Glazed Duck
There is nothing like a delicious roasted duck with a crispy skin and a tasty glaze. This recipe is right on time for the holiday season, enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Silky Chicken In Red Coconut Curry
A black-skinned chicken? Say it ain’t so. This was my first reaction while shopping at a new Asian market in my neighborhood. I have heard that chickens like this existed, but I have never actually come across one myself. There was no way I was going to leave the store with out one! Read the rest of this entry
Skate Wings à la Grenobloise
I have loved to go fishing since childhood, and as I got older I have grown to love it even more. There was a time when my father and I would catch fish that we sometimes considered, “a garbage fish” and we would throw them back. The fish we threw back would consist of small sharks, Sea Robins, and the fish highlighted in this recipe, skate or stingray.
Getting Over The Hump & Sous Vide BBQ Camel Ribs…
What’s up foodies? First I would like to thank those of you who attended my first pop-up dinner at Clemenza’s Restaurant in Queens, NY. The event was sold out, the guest were great, and the food was magnificent. I look forward to doing this more often at different locations. I will keep you all posted!
Now today’s recipe features an ingredient that is not very common here in the United States… Camel meat! Read the rest of this entry
This is another comforting winter stew that can also be prepared with chicken if rabbit is not available. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Venison w/Chanterelles & Fettuccine Rigate
A few years ago I became friends with legendary chef Jeremiah Tower via social media, and every now and then I would seek his advice on food and cooking. There was one time I came to him to seek his advice on the best way to cook dried chanterelle mushrooms. Read the rest of this entry
Cajun Style Fried Frog Legs
I’m Back! I have not been posting for a little bit due to computer issues(burnt out Laptop). I am officially back up and running with a new and better PC. I will be posting a whole lot more, because we have so much catching up to do! Lets get back into the flow with another Cajun dish straight out of the bayou, Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Llama, Alpacas, and Elk…Oh My! An Evening at the Exotic Meat Market
If you read my last blog post, you would know that Emily and I just returned from a 2 week California road trip. It was a great trip that took us to many destinations in the Golden State. One of the more memorable stops along the trip was the Exotic Meat Market in California. Those of you that know me personally, or follow this blog are also aware that I am an adventurous foodie and I am willing to sample different types of foods. I may not be as extreme as Andrew Zimmern, Read the rest of this entry
Take a Walk On The Wild Side II (“Leave It To Beaver” Edition)
By now, you know I am a very adventurous cook & foodie who is willing to try all types of cuisines and ingredients. But I really love cooking and eating wild game meats as explained in previous posts such as Take a Walk On The Wild Side pt.1 & It’s All In The Game. Read the rest of this entry
It’s All In The Game… Are Roo Ready?
If you have been following this blog, you know that I love preparing different types cultural cuisine and experimenting with game meats. I have prepared more than a few dishes consisting of game that were made available to me from my good friends at Fossil Farms. Read the rest of this entry
Venison Osso Buco
This tasty Osso Buco dish can be served with risotto, polenta, or pasta. I chose to pair it with Orecchiette pasta with black truffle oil, garlic and rosemary, which perfectly complimented this dish. If you cannot get your hands on venison, feel free to use veal or wild boar osso buco. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Citrus & Rosemary Cornish Hen
two cornish hens 1 1/2 lbs each
2 medium carrots sliced
8-10 small new potatoes Whole (or buttercream potatoes which are used here)
1 lemon quartered Read the rest of this entry
Slow Cooked Goose With Cranberry Beans
With the Fall season upon us and school about to start, It is about time to shift gears in the kitchen. This is the time of year when we begin baking and preparing stews more often. The comforting aromas of roasting poultry, pot roast, stews, pies & cakes fill most households. My kitchen will be no different, that is why I am kicking off this Fall with an easy to make stew prepared in a slow cooker. I was out shopping this past weekend and decided to pick up a slow-cooker to make chili dishes during the upcoming football season. When I returned home with it, I decided “why not use it tomorrow?”. I had Half of a young goose in the freezer that I have been dying to cook for a couple of weeks, so that would be my protein.
I also had some fresh cranberry beans still in the pods handy. Now cranberry beans have no relation to cranberry the fruit. Upon doing a little research, I learned that cranberry beans originated in Columbia as cargamanto beans. The variety I am using with the crimson stripes are a relatively new cranberry bean. I found these beans similar to pinto beans but milder in taste. Another thing I noticed was that it did not take long during the cooking process for that beautiful crimson stripe to disappear, oh well.
My only experience with cooking goose was a couple of years ago when I roasted one for Christmas dinner. The meat is red and similar to duck, and it also has that thick layer of fat like its cousin. So you really want to trim it good before sticking it in your slow-cooker. I decided to cut the meat from the bone(with a very sharp knife), and cube it like beef stew. I also decided to use some French spices and garden fresh herbs for this stew. The good thing about this recipe is that you can just throw everything into your slow cooker walk away for 6-8 hours, and come back to a delicious comforting meal. The end result= Goose that melted in my mouth and beans cooked to perfection. Bon Appetit!
1 1/2 – 2 pounds of goose breast cubed
1 cup of fresh cranberry beans
2 medium potatoes quartered
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 medium carrots chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp of Herbes de Provence spice
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh savory herb
salt & pepper to taste
First, season the goose meat with the Herbes de Provence spices and a little salt and pepper. In a large saucepan melt the butter under medium-high heat and saute the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the goose meat and brown on all sides then remove from heat. Add the potatoes, carrots, and the contents of the goose pan into the slow cooker. Pour the red wine and chicken stock into the slow cooker(be sure to submerge the meat and vegetables) and set the timer for 7 hours and the crock pot to high setting. After 3 hours add your cranberry beans.When there are 2 hours left add your fresh herbs. When finished, add to bowl and serve with rice or crusty bread. **When using a slow cooker, I recommend that you not add fresh herbs until there is only 1 1/2 – 2 hours cooking time remaining. This is because fresh herbs can lose flavor if they cook to long. Enjoy!
Later Gator! My valiant effort at cooking Creole-style food…
Cajun & Creole cuisine are a couple of my favorite types of food to eat. These cuisines are similar to each other but also quite different, which is something I learned a few months back from my friend, ex-Army veteran, Derrill Guidry. He is a great cook from Louisiana and should know such things, so I trust him. Also on his food page, The “G” Spot, he displays his skills in the Cajun and Creole arena. Both of these cuisines have roots stemming from French cuisine, along with influneces from Africa, Spain and to a lesser degree a few other countries. One of the major differences between Creole and Cajun food is in the type of roux (pronounced “roo”) used as the base of sauces, soups, stews, and other savory dishes. Creole roux is made from butter and flour (as in France), while Cajun roux is made from lard or oil and flour. Most people have the misconception that all Cajun food is spicy, which is not the case. There are a few more differences, and I hope to cover this subject in more detail in a later post, but right now let’s get on with tonight’s dish: Alligator & Shrimp Creole!
Now most of the people I know (excluding chefs) hear the word “alligator” and run for the hills! They wont go anywhere near it, even when it is cooked — and no longer baring teeth. The fact is, alligators have been hunted and consumed by humans for centuries. The tenderloin I purchased looked no different from boneless chicken cutlets (certainly not green and slimy like some of you think). There are two different species of alligators, one in North America and the other in China. The Chinese alligator is listed as a critically endangered species, while the American alligator is plentiful, and can be found throughout the Southeastern United States. Louisiana and Florida have the most alligators: over one million wild alligators in each state with more than a quarter million more on alligator farms. Obviously, I will use farm raised alligator, and obviously an alligator from Louisiana since it’s Creole. The meat yielded a mild taste somewhat like chicken, and unlike its wild counterpart, which I am told tastes a tad bit more like frog legs or fish. The soft texture is sometimes compared to veal. While this wasn’t my first time cooking gator, it was my first try at a Creole-style dish and it was just absolutely delicious! The Creole flavors where exciting to the taste buds and the alligator and shrimp cooked to perfection. Bon Appetit!
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup butter
1 cup peeled chopped tomato
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 whole chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 cups chicken or fish stock
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 bay leaves
1 lb alligator tenderloin cut into 1 or 1 1/2 inch sized cubes
1 lb large/jumbo shrimp, shelled (tail on is optional)
3/4 lb smoked chicken sausage, sliced (Traditionally, you’d use Andouille sausage, which a more heavily spiced sausage, but I used chicken since I don’t eat pork)
Mix together oregano, salt, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and basil in a small bowl; set aside. Brown the sausage slices is a small frying pan and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan oven over medium heat; stir in tomato, onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion is almost translucent, about 4 minutes.
Stir in chicken or fish stock, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, hot pepper sauce, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and bring sauce to a simmer. Stir in seasoning mix and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.
Gently stir in shrimp and alligator; bring sauce back to a simmer add sausage and cook until the shrimp and gator are done, about 20-30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and garnish with yellow celery leaves or parsley. Serve with a crusty bread or rice.
French-Style Antelope Chop /w Herbed Merlot Sauce
Now to put the spotlight one of my favorite meats, antelope! Many of you have never tried it, but trust me, I think it’s time you should. Antelope is indigenous to Africa, and parts of Europe & Asia. North American antelope are referred to as “Pronghorn”. I do not hunt so I purchase most of my game meat from www.Fossilfarms.com. The animals are farm raised and fed naturally with no hormones. The meat is very lean and high in protein, and most of all it’s tasty. This was my first try at antelope chops and I loved it! They may resemble deer but they are actually members of the same animal family as goat. The meat is mild tasting with a similar taste to venison, finely grained, and get this, one-third the calories of beef!
Antelope that are hunted in the wild are said to have “gamey” or “sagey” taste. As I explained in previous posts, the “gamey” flavor comes from the fact that the animals in the wild eat a very varied diet of weeds, acorns, wood bark, etc. This flavors the meat distinctively. Sagebrush makes up a large part of the antelopes diet, which may explain the “sagey” flavor. Since we are used to eating meat that is grain fed, which has a much milder flavor, game meat tastes strange to us now. We don’t need to worry about that here since this meat is farm raised. I cooked this the same way I would prepare a lamb chop, pan seared it and popped it in a 450 degree oven for a few minutes. I then pair it with roasted asparagus & potatoes (cooked in a bit of duck fat), and added my herbed merlot sauce to seal the deal. All I can say is wow! It was very tasty and a big hit in my household. So I highly recommend you try antelope — you wont regret it. Bon Appetit!
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup of sliced white mushrooms
1 large celery stalk, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
3 Lb rabbit cut into 8 pieces ( you can use chicken if you like)
1 large garlic clove crushed
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp freshly chopped oregano
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
additional parsley for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat; then add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside and keep warm. In a large 5- to 7- quart wide heavy pot , heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat . Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot and place on the side with the mushrooms.
Season the rabbit generously with salt and pepper. Add rabbit pieces and cook, turning pieces several times until lightly golden, about 5 minutes per side. Add the reserved vegetables and mushrooms to the pot, then add the wine. Increase heat to high and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, mix well and bring to a simmer then add half of the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Add chopped parsley and oregano, stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adding remaining broth gradually as sauce thickens, until rabbit is very tender, about 1 hour. Garnish with parsley and serve with pasta of your choice. Here I served it up with cheese stuffed ravioli. Bon Appetit! 🙂
Trying My Hand….At Lapin Au Vin!
This is a delicious rabbit casserole, cooked in red wine with pearl onions and mushrooms. Just like most casseroles, this benefits from being prepared the night before, cooled and then reheated when needed.
2 lb rabbit cut into 8 pieces
4 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 oz fatty beef bacon (or pork, which I dont eat) cut into strips
1 lb pearl onions peeled
2 1/2 cups red wine
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 bouquet garni
1 lb white mushrooms halved
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put flour in plastic bag and season the rabbit with salt and pepper, then add to bag with the flour and coat evenly. Heat the oil and butter in a casserole dish and cook the rabbit over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until browned. You may need to do this in 2 batches, if so, remove 1st batch of rabbit from heat and keep warm. Add the bacon to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes or until slightly crisp, remove and keep warm.
Add onions to the pan and cook over high heat for 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown. Pour in the wine and stir well to remove any sediment from the bottom of the pan.
Return the bacon and rabbit to the pan and add the garlic and bouquet garni, then bring to a boil, cover and place in the center of a preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours.
Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni, remove the rabbit pieces, bacon, onions and mushrooms with a slotted spoon, and put them into a serving dish.
Put the pan back on a burner and bring to a rapid boil to thicken the sauce, then pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Serve with some crusty baguette and Bon Appetit.
It’s January and the cold weather has moved in, and kitchens all across cold regions of the world begin to smell of stews and soups, which are so comforting in the winter months. Let’s talk about rabbit. I have had my experiences with cooking rabbit. I have tried different techniques such as marinating it overnight in buttermilk & herbs then deep frying it. I have also baked it alongside my Thanksgiving turkey to give the holidays a twist, which turned out to be a hit. Lately I have been trying to learn French techniques in the kitchen and the French love rabbit. Fricassée de Lapin is the sort of comforting home cooking you will find in farmhouse kitchens and small, cozy neighborhood restaurants in France. In some regions such as Normandy, rabbit is treated much like chicken is in America and enjoyed frequently. Some say rabbit tastes like chicken, but in my opinion it has the same texture as chicken but its own wonderful flavor. This is another easy French dish the home cook can make for the family during these cold winter months. Bon Appetit!
2 1/2 lb rabbit
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup of red wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 all-purpose four
3 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup white mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
Cut the rabbit into eight pieces. Put the flour into a plastic bag and add the rabbit. Shake to dust with flour. Melt the butter over medium-high heat; add the rabbit, turning to brown evenly.Add the wine and boil for 1 minute. Add enough stock to just cover the meat. Add the garlic and herbs and simmer for 1 hour, or until the rabbit is very tender and the juices run clear. Stir in the mustard, and mushrooms cook for 10 more minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Strain the sauce. Serve the rabbit with a bit of the strained sauce. You can also add the cooked mushrooms to the finished dish.
Chevreuil aux Pois Chiches (Moroccan Venison Stew)
The delicious spicy cuisines of French colonial North Africa have left their mark on French cooking, which some of you know I’ve been exploring. This dish is traditionally prepared with lamb (d’Agneau), but tonight I will use venison since I have an abundance of it from a friend who hunts. Lamb stew meat should be easily available at most local markets so don’t break your neck looking for venison. The word “tagine” is the name for the conical-shaped pottery dish in which this delicious meal is usually cooked. I don’t have a tagine so I guess pots and pans have to do. 🙂 Despite the lengthy ingredient list and multiple steps, this dish is simple to make for the home cook so I encourage all to try this recipe. Dont be shy, leave feedback telling me if it worked for you. Bon Appetit! (special thanks to George Perkins for donating the protein for this dish)
1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas soaked in cold water overnight
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp powdered saffron or paprika
3 lbs of venison stew meat OR lamb shoulder trimmed of all fat cut into 2 inch pieces
2 medium onions coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
2/3 cup golden raisins soaked in warm water
10-20 black olives (such as a kalamata)
2 preserved lemons or the grated rind of 1 lemon
6 tbsp fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
cous cous (to serve)
Drain the chickpeas, rinse under cold running water and place in a large pan, cover with water and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain the chick peas and return to pan and cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 -1 1/2 hrs until peas are tender. remove from heat and add about 1 tsp salt and set aside. In a large bowl, combine half of the oil (2 Tbsp) with the sugar, ginger, cumin, tumeric, saffron or paprika,pepper and about 1 tsp of salt. Now add your lamb or venison and toss well to coat all sides and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.
In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add enough lamb to cover the pan in one layer but do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning the pieces to brown all sides, then transfer to a large casserole dish. Keep browning all the lamb in batches until all the lamb is cooked and in the casserole. You may find you have to add a little more olive oil between batches.
Add the onions to the pan and stir constantly until browned. Stir in garlic and tomatoes along with 1 cup of water, stirring and scraping the base of the pan. Pour this mixture into the casserole and add enough water to cover. Heat the casserole dish on the stove top, bringing the stew to a boil and skimming off any foam, then reduce and simmer for an hour.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the lamb with about 1 cup of the drained off liquid. Stir in the raisins and the liquid they soaked in, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the olives and sliced preserved lemons or lemon rind and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes, then add half the chopped cilantro.
About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the cous cous according to package instructions. Serve side by side or with the stew over a bed of cous cous, and garnish with the remaining cilantro.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side!
I live in NYC, a place that has maybe the most diverse food scene in the world. Here I have tried a wide range of food from different countries and cultures. When it comes to food I have a pretty open mind and I am willing to try most cuisines (I do have my exceptions, which you’ll learn soon enough on this blog). Wild game is one of the only cuisines you don’t stumble upon everyday, even in the Big Apple. I am not saying you can’t find it here. Restaurants such as The Waterfront Alehouse (which I reviewed here), Jean-Georges in Manhattan, and Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights, which has a “wild game festival”, are just a few I know of.
Most people up here in the north won’t eat anything other than beef, pork, chicken and fish. Two years ago I stumbled upon this website http://www.fossilfarms.com that had almost every type of game meat. I made a mental note to order from them, but it slipped back into the dungeons of my busy brain. A few weeks ago I visited the website and was overjoyed to find that they opened a factory store right in New Jersey. The only catch was that it was a one hour and fifteen minute drive from my home(yikes!). So my girlfriend and I decided to make a day of it and hit a shopping mall and have lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack (yummy).
When we arrived I was not disappointed, the freezers were stocked with everything: alligator, antelope, buffalo, elk, ostrich, kobe beef, fois gras and the list goes on. I opted to buy quite a few of these meats since I’m such a daring cook and not afraid to try new things. In the future I will bring these dishes to you, so stay tuned! But tonight we cook elk which is a naturally lean alternative to mainstream meats, very low in fat and cholesterol. Elk is referred to as “Red Deer” and is very similar to beef, although it has yet to be generally accepted in steak houses and restaurants. Supermarkets are also reluctant to stock up on elk meat. It’s often served as a rare exotic dish and is mostly popular among meat lovers. The elk from Fossil Farms is all natural and never fed any growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The taste of it was savory, and the flavor was pretty close to venison but slightly more “gamey” — although my raspberry wine sauce quickly tamed it! I braised carrots and asparagus in kobe beef stock and served it all up with wild rice. Yummy dish!
“Gamey” flavor just refers to the wild taste that game, like deer or elk, has. It is a stronger, tangy, earthy flavor that is very difficult to describe if you haven’t tasted it. Although wild game is lower in fat than grocery store meat, that doesn’t make it taste gamey. Also, although wild game tends to be tougher, because the animals get more exercise, that doesn’t make it taste gamey either. Gamey flavor comes from the fact that the animals in the wild eat a very varied diet of weeds, acorns, wood bark, etc. This flavors the meat distinctively. Since we are used to eating meat that is grain fed, which has a much milder flavor. Game meat tastes strange to us now.
Watch for future game meat coming from Gourmet De-Constructed. If you’re interested in purchasing wild game from Fossil Farms you can visit the website if you are in the tri-state area take a drive into New Jersey. They are located at 81 Fulton St., Boonton, NJ.
Oh Deer, It’s Almost Thanksgiving!
It’s November, and as we prepare for Thanksgiving here in NYC I wanted to cook something different with a holiday twist. Growing up, Thanksgiving in my home was a big event, with my grandmother pulling out her cape and being a “superwoman” in the kitchen as usual. Turkey, mac & cheese, greens, yams, cakes, and sweet potato pies, which she always made too many of every year. Occasionally she would make a ham (which I did not partake in), or a roast beef. We generally think of Thanksgiving as a uniquely American holiday, but there’s actually a long tradition of harvest-time celebrations and thanksgiving celebrations around the world. In Canada, Thanksgiving Day occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. In the West African country of Liberia, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November. You can also find celebrations in a number of other countries such as Grenada, Netherlands, and parts of Australia , such as Norfolk Island. The actual type of celebration may vary, but one thing that’s universal with all of the celebrations is food!
This week I want to give you a few ideas of different types of dishes to add to your menu for this holiday season. Today we will do a venison meatloaf w/cranberries and a bourbon/walnut sweet potato mash. This dish is sure to be a hit as a side addition to your holiday feast. I mean, the ingredients themselves spell harvest season. Most people add pork to the venison meatloaf, since the meat is so lean. I decided to add some ground chuck beef instead as I don’t eat pork. Add the bourbon sweet potato mash and the veggie of your choice (I roasted brussells sprouts), and you will have everyone clamoring for more and more! I hope you all enjoy my pre-Thanksgiving creation! 🙂
Bourbon sweet potato mash:
4 pounds of baked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.
Heat cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot cream mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with walnuts.
1 1/2 pounds of ground venison
1/2 pound of ground chuck beef
1 tbs olive oil
1 large chopped shallot
1/2 cup of oats
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
3 large eggs beaten
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute garlic and shallots until soft but not brown, remove from heat and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and in a separate bowl mix eggs, salt, pepper, allspice, and celery salt together and whisk well. Knead the venison, beef, oats, and cranberries together without over-mixing, which will make your loaf tough. Add the egg mixture and garlic and shallots to the venison and continue to knead gently until well mixed. Form your loaf and place in a meatloaf pan, I don’t have a meatloaf pan so I used a large casserole dish. Spread very thin even layer of the tomato paste over the top and bake for 1 hour or until oven thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and serve with bourbon sweet potatoes. Bon Appetit!
Mozzarella Stuffed Elk Meatballs in Chilean Red Wine & Tomato Sauce
After trying out elk meat last month and loving it, I decided to give it another shot, this time with ground elk. I love to cook meatballs when I have any type of ground meat. Earlier this month I gave you North African venison meatballs and Piedmontese meatballs, so I wondered what can I do differently with this meat? Hey, why not stuff them! So with that idea, off to the market for some fresh ingredients.
Instead of traditional Italian tomato sauce, I had a bottle of a very dry, full bodied Chilean Cabernet Sauvingon along with some fresh vine tomatoes to form my base. I also decided to make very large meatballs (2 1/2 inches) so I could stuff them with plenty of fresh mozarella cheese. In the end, the meal had intense and interesting flavors, and I will try this again very soon, perhaps with another type of meat. Enjoy!
1 -½ lbs ground elk
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion diced
3 garlic cloves diced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
4 slices white bread crust removed
1/2 cup milk
1 egg beaten
½ cup fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Mozzarella cheese rolled into small balls (maybe the size of a large cherry)
6 fresh vine tomatoes, diced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup dry red wine of your choice
1) Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced white onion and 3 diced garlic cloves. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, add thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
2) In a separate bowl tear bread into small pieces and soak in milk for 5 minutes. Drain the milk from bread by squeezing it out and place bread in another bowl. Add elk meat, egg, parmigiano-reggiano, and onion mixture and mix together with your hands.
3) Begin to form meatballs, being sure to add a mozzarella cheese ball in the center of each meatball. The meatball sizes are up to you. You can make them small, medium or large depending on how you want to serve this dish up. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
4) Add remaining oil to cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Place each meatball into skillet and cook on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan when browned.
5) Add ½ cup dry red wine to skillet to deglaze pan. Add tomatoes and ¼ cup fresh chopped basil. Bring sauce to a simmer, add meatballs and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
6) Serve alone or with the pasta of your choice and garnish with basil.
It’s October and the Fall is upon us, and it’s time to get ready for my favorite holidays of the year. This time of year also brings more food choices with the cooler weather moving in. We start to eat more comfort foods such as soups, casseroles, and stews just to name a few. This year I’m planning to bring you a multitude of these seasonal dishes. Tonight’s entree will be paired with a roasted Fall vegetable salad, which will be made with parsnips, butternut squash, red onion, red bell pepper and spinach, and tossed in pomengranate vinegarette & toasted squash seeds. The entree will be something new and different to many of my fellow New Yorkers. So I introduce to you… Steak-Bird!
That’s right, ostrich is on the table tonight! Now the reason why I call it “steak- bird” is because this is not your average poultry; ostrich is similar in taste, texture and appearance to beef. Ostrich has found a place on the world’s menu, delivering red meat flavor with two-thirds less fat. According to the National Culinary Review, ostrich is poised to become “the premier red meat of the next century”. The reason is simple . . . no meat combines the flavor, versatility and nutritional benefits of ostrich. It is already a popular menu item at many American and European restaurants. I am yet to see it appear on menus within the NYC limits, but I’m quite sure it is an option in quite a few.
Now I tried to cook ostrich 2 years ago and it did not work out too well, especially since I did not research how it should be prepared. Because of its low fat content, ostrich cooks faster than other meat products. Steaks and whole muscles should be cooked medium rare to medium. Cooking ostrich to well done is not recommended, and this is exactly what I did — Blah! This time I was ready to redeem myself for the disaster that took place on my first try. After talking to a couple of fellow chefs, I was advised to marinate it before cooking, and prepare it as I would a delicate cut of steak such as filet. My choice was to cook it sous vide! this method produced a tender, flavorful cut of meat similar to beef. I made a cranberry/merlot sauce to top it off, and the sauce had just the right amount of sweet tartness of the cranberries which, along with the vegetables, made an awesome dish! What a great way to kick off the Fall season. Bon Appetit 🙂
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ostrich steaks (4 ounces each)
In a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container, combine the first 10 ingredients; mix well. Add meat to marinade and turn to coat. Seal bag or cover container; refrigerate overnight, turning meat occasionally. Drain and discard marinade. Preheat your water bath to 125F. Vacuum seal the steak and place it into the water for 3 hours. Remove the ostrich from the bag and pat dry. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over high heat and sear each steak until crust forms about 2-3 minutes per side. If you are finishing it on a grill, oil the grates and grill the steaks over high heat for 2-3 minutes.s (I DO NOT recommend cooking it well done, it will dry out) and add sauce of your choice (I chose to make a cranberry/merlot sauce).
Heat oven to 450ºF.
Place first 5 ingredients in 15×10-inch pan. Add 2 Tbsp dressing; toss to coat. Spread to evenly cover bottom of pan.
Bake 40 to 45 min. or until vegetables are tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Spoon into large bowl. Add spinach; toss lightly.
Top with bacon, seeds and remaining dressing.
It’s Game Day!
As we move along into the month of September in which I have featured quite a few wild game dishes, I got together with fellow Chef Jim Takacs and we decided to do a dinner party. But this was no normal dinner party because it was going to have a few interesting items on the menu. I thought the idea of doing something a little different would be fun. And since I still have a couple of products left over from my Fossil Farms trip, I was more than ready to get it rocking in the kitchen! So far I don’t think I have cooked anything extreme for you. I have done elk and deer meat which I don’t view as extreme game meat. But tonight I give you some thing different. Alligator.
When most people I know here in NYC hear alligator meat, they cringe at the thought of eating it. It is viewed as a scary monster-looking reptile that will eat a human in a heartbeat. While this may be true, humans make more meals out of gators than they of us (which is extremely rare). Farm raising alligators for food has been around since the early 20th century, and the meat has been consumed by humans for centuries, especially in southern cooking. Now I know that so far I have not diminished the “ewwwww” factor yet in some of you, especially my daughter, but read on. Alligator meat actually looks and taste like chicken. I know you have heard this before but it is true. Alligator meat is lean, and is a more concentrated source of protein than some other meats. Like chicken, alligator meat is also low in fat and a good source of protein.
The dishes I chose for “game day” were North African venison meatballs, which can be viewed HERE, and Alligator Etoufee. I mean, you don’t get any more Cajun than alligator. On a trip to New Orleans, my girlfriend and I went on a swamp tour in the bayou and actually saw people out hunting gators in the wild (post is here). Actually this trip was the very first time I’d eaten gator meat, and I liked it. I must admit it was a dangerous move to attempt to cook a meat I’ve never prepared before for a bunch of people that I would meet for the first time. But after watching the Giants beat the Eagles and my beloved Yankees kick the crap out of the Red Sox, I knew the day was off to a good start.
Upon arriving to the dinner everyone was antsy to get it started since I was late (as usual). I was pleasantly surprised by the courses that were on deck. The first dish was prepared by Adam which was a freshly grilled rabbit marinated with olive oil, garlic and rosemary and served with a polenta that had fresh pecorino romano cheese and grated zucchini, topped with a roasted tomato with garlic and fresh oregano. This was an absolutely great dish, and we were off to a good start. Next up was the alligator (fingers crossed), Swoosh! I nailed it, and it had just enough Cajun “kick” to wake up everyone’s taste buds. The meat was very tender and the Etoufee was very flavorful, totally Cajun! Next up Jim prepared panko crusted quail on ginger wasabi cole slaw and garnished with sriracha sauce, which I thought was a very clever and delicious dish. On to the venison meatballs that were definately a hit with its nice African flavors. Then Jim put out the last dish which was roasted shredded duck served with cashew butter and sorrano pepper jelly sandwich with an arugala, roast beet and fig salad. Yummy! Carol wrapped up the night with her delicious strawberry cheesecake. It was so good that I wish I had grabbed a slice to go. Overall all of the food was fantastic, I had a chance to catch up with a childhood friend (Whaddup Kim!), my NY teams ruled, and I ended my day happy. I wish every Sunday was this good. 🙂 Special thanks to Jim & Andrea for hosting, also Adam, Alyssa, Kim, Steve, Carol, and Jerry.
Update: My good friend Jim Takacs passed away on June 22 2018. I just want to express my deepest sympathies to his family and many friends. Rest in peace brother.
I Got My “Game” Face On!
I am no stranger to cooking African food; I actually love to cook it! The spices and fresh herbs combine to make any household smell like a restaurant. Lately I’ve been on a wild game kick as you’ve seen in my last post. But before I took that trip to Fossil Farms, a childhood friend of mine who goes hunting every season, gave me some of the deer he bagged on a trip (shout out to George Perkins). Venison is a meat that is mild tasting and similar to elk but less “gamey”. I have made venison in various ways because he gives me so many different cuts to be versatile with. For tonight’s dish we will use some ground venison which is much leaner than ground beef.
You might want to add venison to your diet if you are a meat eater because not only is it delicious, it is also a healthier alternative to the meats we normally eat. I did my research and found that venison, elk, and buffalo were probably the first red meats eaten by man/woman (after mastodons).Venison is not only low in fat and cholesterol, but high in vital nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and phosphorus. Venison is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids.
Deer are indigenous to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, which is the inspiration for tonight’s dish. Now I love African food because of the bold, flavorful spices and herbs that are common to the cuisine. The spices used in North African food resemble ingredients used in a variety of dishes from India and southeast Asia. Spices such as cumin, coriander, tumeric, and fresh herbs such as cilantro and ginger are used in most dishes. Some people I know steer clear of African food because they say it’s too spicy, but when you cook at home you can “tweak” it, and spice it to your taste. I like my African food with a kick (lol) so I go full speed ahead with the spices! I decided to cook North African meatballs since i love venison and meatballs, I have cooked venison steaks and tenderloins before, but never ground venison.
This dish was alive with flavors but yet it didn’t overpower the mild venison meat, which, by the way melted in my mouth. I served it up with a sundried Tomato and Lentil Cous Cous and there you have it, a North African dish made in Brooklyn! So overall, I think it was a great dish and I look forward to bringing you more of these fabulous dishes.Feel free to drop by and subscribe to this blog and request this recipe, Bon Appetit 🙂