Updated: 11/06/2012 4:19 PM
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Cooking with Wild Game
Tom Kavanaughour, owner of Kavanaugh Culinary has been cooking with wild game for more than thirty years and found his love for cooking with it through Italian cuisine. He's showing us how to cook with Wild Game.
Seared Duck Breast with Honey-Balsamic Sauce
2 Boneless Duck Breasts
Salt and Pepper
2 T. Primaiolo Olive Oil
1 T. Vanilla Olive Oil
2 T. Honey
1 T. fresh chopped Thyme
1 cinnamon stick
2 T. 25-Year Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Apple Balsamic Vinegar
In a small saucepan, mix to together the Olive oil, Honey, Thyme, Cinnamon stick, allspice and Vinegars and lightly heat. Strain the mixture and season with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside.
Score the Duck with a sharp knife on the skin but be sure to not cut through the skin. Season with salt and pepper and either saute or grill. Brush with the sauce as you go and then serve a drizzle over it after slicing.
Butternut Squash Polenta
2 cups Milk
2 cups Water or Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Kosher salt
¾ cup quick cooking polenta
1 cup pureed roasted butternut squash
2 T. Fior Fiore Olive Oil
2 T. Butter
¼ cup grated Pecorino Cheese
In a medium saucepan bring the milk and water just to a boil, reduce heat. In a steady stream add the polenta, stirring as you go. When mix together add the sqash, olive oil and butter and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add Pecorino and serve.
Wild Mushroom Ragout
3 T. Porcini Olive Oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 T. Red Onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of mixed wild mushroom, if dried re-hydrated (filter liquid and save)
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 T. Rosemary Olive Oil
½ cup vegetable stock or reserved mushroom water
½ cup red wine
1 T. butter
1 T. 25-year old balsamic
Salt and Pepper
In a large frypan carefully heat he porcini olive oil. Add the shallot and red onion and saute until lightly colored. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the mushrooms and thyme. Add rosemary oil, stock and wine and reduce by half. Finish with butter and balsamic. Adjust seasonings.
Oven dried tomatoes
4 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
2 T. Rosemary Olive Oil or Basil Olive Oil
2 T. Garlic Olive Oil
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
preheat oven to 150-170 degrees. Slice tomatoes lengthwise and place cut side up on baking sheets. Combine Oils, salt and sugar and drizzle over each tomato. Cook in oven for 10 hours. Cool and refrigerate. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Wonderful on crostini, grilled fish, and pasta.
Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 lb. Brussel Sprouts
4 ounces Pancetta, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tsp. Finely chopped fresh Thyme
¼ cup Slivered Blanched Almonds
1 T. Honey
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper
Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 Tablespoons of salt. Cook the whole Brussel sprouts for about 2 minutes, and then drain. Plunge the sprouts into a an ice bath to cool. Drain the sprouts when cool and trim the outer leaves and ends and cut in half lengthwise. In a large saute pan cook the pancetta over low heat until fat is rendered and cubes are crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the sprouts to the pan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the almonds and thyme and cook for about 5 more minutes. Return the pancetta to the pan and add the honey and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper.
Roasted Pheasant Tuscan Style
2 Pheasants, ready for roasting
3 T. Orange Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Rosemary Sprigs
4 bunches of Thyme
2 ounces of Pancetta Bacon strips
4 ounces of mixed dry fruit
1 shallot, sliced into strips
1 cup white wine
2 T. brandy or grappa
2 T. 25 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar
Rub the oil over the Pheasants. Rub in the salt and pepper and garlic both inside and out. Place the Pheasants in a roasting pan and divide the rosemary and thyme up between the birds and place in the cavities of each. Lay the Pancetta strips over the birds. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, drain any grease that has formed. Place the shallots, fruit, wine, brandy and balsamic in the pan and roast for another 20 minutes. Place the birds on a serving dish and slightly reduce the sauce and then serve with pheasant.
Venison Loin with Blueberry Balsamic-Red Wine Sauce
Venison Loin or Leg, cleaned and trimmed, cut into 4 8-Ounce pieces
3 T. Rosemary Olive Oil
3 T Garlic Olive Oil
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Juniper Berries
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Sea Salt and Pepper
3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped Sage
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped Thyme
2 Shallots, minced
2 cups Red Wine, such as a Merlot or Burgundy
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar
To Make the sauce: Combine the red wine, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat to a light boil. Stirring often, reduce by half or until it becomes a nice syrup. Strain and return to heat. Add the blueberry balsamic and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Set aside.
For the Venison: Place the venison in a non-reactive, shallow casserole. Add the rosemary, garlic and extra virgin olive oils plus the garlic and juniper berries. Allow venison to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When ready to cook, remove the venison from the oil and lightly pat off excess. Rub the loin with the sea salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix the sage, thyme and shallots together and then rub them onto the loin. Grill or pan sear the venison to medium rare, about 5 minutes per side. Internal temp should be about 125 degrees.
3 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Rosemary Olive Oil
1 red onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 fennel bulb, ¼ inch dice
1 butternut squash, ¼ inch dice
1 celery stalk, diced
1 T. rinsed capers
½ cup roasted garlic cloves
¼ cup pitted Calamata Olives
¼ cup Raisins soaked in 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup toasted Walnuts
½ cup oven roasted tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, and diced
2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
juice of 1 orange, plus the zest
1 T. fresh Thyme leaves
1 tsp sugar
salt and peppercorn
In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, shallot and fennel and saute until lightly browned. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Saute the squash and celery, adding more oil to the pan as well as the rosemary oil. Transfer to bowl. Adding a bit more oil saute the capers, olives, garlic, raisins, tomatoes, walnuts, and peppers. Transfer to bowl. In a small bowl mix the pepper flakes, orange juice and zest, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper and mix. Add to cooked ingredients and toss gently.
Tip with Cooking with Wild Game
1. Wild game is more than just hunting season, many wild game items are available year round, however, most of these items are farm raised.
2. There is a difference in the items you bring home from your hunting trip and those that are farm raised in both flavor and the amount of usable protein. Wild animals have more of the “gamey” flavor to them based on the fact that their diet it varied based on the areas that they come from. Not usually as well fed they tend to be leaner and with less meat. “Farmed” game is fed specific diets to enhance flavor and size of the animal.
3. We are using a domestic raised duck breast today which is much larger than most wild ducks.
4. Wild game is lean, much more like some of our “free range” and “grass fed” animals that are so popular now....basically they are more like the animals of old.
5. Because they are lean many of them require careful cooking techniques, the addition of other fats and lower temps. They also take on flavors very well and because they are often lean cook well with wines, fruits, vinegars, and other “sugars”. Spice will also enhance their flavor.
6. With the fall season they go so well with some of the vegetables we consider fall type items....root vegetables, squash, brussel sprouts, and roasted or caramelized vegetables really set off and help pull out some of the gaminess that the protiens have and many people don't like.
7. Info on game. Game Birds are tougher the more mature they are and a good way to know if they are older is the check the stiffness of the beak, lifting them by their lower jaw you will know they are older if nothing breaks. Freezing a game bird for a week will help to tenderize it as well.
8. As a hunter make sure to follow proper cooling and holding procedures when prepping any wild game!