Build Flavor One Step after Another: One-Skillet Panfish Fry with Guinness Tartar Sauce

At 8:30 in the morning, after several sputters, our rental boat’s motor was completely dead.

On Lake Minnetonka, my dad and I sat floating halfway between Casco and Locke Point.

I kept quiet while my dad, a mechanic, fumbled with the motor. The complexity and frequency of his expletives grew with every minute spent stagnant. Continue reading “Build Flavor One Step after Another: One-Skillet Panfish Fry with Guinness Tartar Sauce”

Minimalism Should Be Your Mantra When Flavoring Wild Game for the First Time: Canada Goose

I contend the first bite of wild game should taste as authentic as possible. That first meal is as an extension of a memory—an unforgettable day, one of hard work and adrenaline and the calm sense of reverence following that first kill. In recounting the experience to friends and family, you won’t dare hide one single detail. You want to share the moment as authentically as it happened. So why would you wish for anything less than the real deal when initially tasting your trophy or having others flavor it for the first time? Continue reading “Minimalism Should Be Your Mantra When Flavoring Wild Game for the First Time: Canada Goose”

Think You Know Your Tenderloins? Wild Turkey Tenderloin and Gnocchi with Chardonnay Beurre Blanc

Ask most bird hunters and they might tell you there’s no such thing as a fowl tenderloin. After all, on the backside of any bird—where one would expect to locate a tenderloin, since that is where they are found on cattle and deer—there is little more than bone and gristle.

I myself doubted such a succulent cut existed on any wild bird until a few years ago, when a friend introduced me to a mouth-watering piece of bird hidden in an unexpected location. Continue reading “Think You Know Your Tenderloins? Wild Turkey Tenderloin and Gnocchi with Chardonnay Beurre Blanc”

Two Reasons Why Spring is Such an Exceptional Season: Wild Turkey and Pheasant Back Risotto

After the doldrums of late-winter—those weeks when the ice has started to thaw on lakes statewide, leaving little opportunity for fishing—spring is a welcomed reprieve from cold days with little sunshine. For us hunters and foragers in particular, spring represents the opportunity to pursue some of the rarest, most-elusive table fare the year will have to offer and serve it up in some classic or new favorite dishes.  Continue reading “Two Reasons Why Spring is Such an Exceptional Season: Wild Turkey and Pheasant Back Risotto”

Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs

One of my earliest childhood memories is the Kentucky mountainside opposite my great-grandmother’s porch. A steep mosaic of oak and pine, it towered over the one-lane highway hemming its slope, a short walk from Nannie’s front steps. I recall well the intermittent hum of semis at night, the whirring glow of their cab lights like fireflies in our guest bedroom window. In the morning we woke early to the sounds of Nannie working in the kitchen. Smells of frying bacon and chicken roused our noses from sleep, luring our feet, pair by pair, down creaking floorboards. Continue reading “Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs”

Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy

The origin of hunter-style gravy, or “sauce chasseur” as the French call it, remains rather unclear. Seen on modern menus today, the term hunter-style or hunter’s sauce typically refers to a recipe that includes sautéed mushrooms and is made from beef demi-glace. Some sources suggest the sauce got its name from the practice of hunters returning home from a successful hunt and foraging for mushrooms along their route. Other sources speculate instead of wine—a common ingredient in modern hunter-style gravies—hunters employed the blood from their kill in the recipe. I prefer to believe the latter and have sought to create a recipe that aims to celebrate the ritualistic nature of returning home from the woods after a great day bagging grouse. Continue reading “Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy”