Monday, September 14, 2009

annual game feed

For many years, it has been an annual tradition in my family to hold a wild game feed at our cabin during the fall duck opener.   This is a chance for all of the hunters and cooks in the family to invent new recipes to showcase what has been hunted over the past year (or clear out space in the freezer for the coming season!).
Over the years, new kinds of game were added, more cooks crowded into the kitchen, and more guests came to sample the results, and finally, it outgrew the cabin.  So, for the past 2 years it has been held in a larger venue with a much larger kitchen and more seating. 

As usual, this year's feast offered a broad spectrum of wild game prepared in a variety of ways.  Just a taste of each one was enough to fill an entire plate.........not including all of the salads, sides and desserts!
the crockpot line-up.
goose and pineapple skewers wrapped in bacon
pheasant and pepper kabobs
venison rounds w/ raspberry sauce
pheasant in cream sauce
duck breast
venison roast
hunters stew
dove stew
pheasant chili
wild turkey w/ cranberry sauce
duck a la orange
fried walleye
smoked salmon
grilled salmon
venison sausage
Every year, it seems that there is always one new meat that I have not had before, and this year it was dove.
The "mourning surprise" stew, as we dubbed it, was wonderfully rich and the dove was similar in taste and texture to pheasant.  I think some were reluctant to try it, but they missed out if they didn't have a taste.
The grilled appetizers were a big hit (just about anything is a big hit when it's wrapped in bacon and served on a stick!)
I am a huge fan of pickles, so I couldn't resist a photo of the "pickle table"
My cousin Skip brought his 2 time Cabin Bar champion pheasant chili, and it is definitely deserving of that's probably a good thing that the recipe is a secret, because I'm sure it's got about 4,000 calories per not to know too much!
Two of my other favorites this year were my brother Brian's "Hunter's Stew", and the pheasant in cream sauce.  Most of the recipes at this feast are in the "little bit of this, little bit of that" style, so I am offering a couple of comparable recipes for you to try at home. 
Venison Stew
3 lb venison, cubed
7 c water
5 cubes beef bouillon
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup flour
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup potatoes, cubed
1/2 c flour
1 c hot water
-mix meat with onions and toss with 1/3 c flour
-heat oil in deep skillet and cook meat and onions, turning until browned on both sides
-place meat and beef bouillon in large crockpot
-add water until covered 1 inch over meat
-slow cook on high for 4 hours
-add veggies and slow cook for another 1 hour + until veggies are tender
-to thicken, mix 1/2 c flour with hot water until smooth, with no clumps
-pour into stew and stir, cook additional 30 minutes
Pheasant in Cream Sauce
1 pheasant
1 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t garlic
1/4 c chopped onion
4 oz chopped mushrooms
1/2 c heavy cream
-cut pheasant into bite size cubes
-combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic
-roll pheasant cubes in flour mixture
-brown pheasant on both sides (about 15 minutes)
-saute onion and mushrooms in seperate pan
-pour over pheasant and add cream
-cook covered for 15 minutes, turning
-uncover, cook additional 15 minutes until tender
It was an amazing spread and a wonderful gathering.  We sent many doggie bags home, and still have leftovers for the week.  I'm sure that the cooks have already been making notes for next year. (note to myself-make more pies!)

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