Wild (or Not Wild) Game

If you have a hankering for wild game, head up to Minto, N.D., on Saturday (Dec. 5) for the Minto Area Sportsmen’s Klub fourth annual wild game feed.

The event starts at 11:30 a.m. in the Community Center with hor d’ oeuvres (Smoked Elk Roast, Catfish, Finger Pheasant Sandwiches), with dinner (including Salisbury Elk Steak, Elk and Buffalo on Rotisserie and Venison Stroganoff) to follow.

Joyce Evans, a member of the club, says the festivities also will feature dishes such as White Pheasant Chili, Elk Stew and French Dip Buffalo Sandwiches.

When prepared properly, wild game like venison, ducks or upland birds can be an Epicurean delight. And in some cases, it’s more nutritious than beef, pork or chicken. Most game meats have considerably less fat than domestic meat.

Following are two of my favorite wild game recipes along with a homemade barbecue sauce. If you’re not a wild game fan, domestic meats can easily be substituted.

Swiss Steak
2 pounds elk or venison round steak (or beef)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup flour
1 teapsoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Adolph’s Steak Tenderizer
1 teaspon Emeril’s Essence
3 medium onions, sliced
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup red wine
½ cup water
Combine flour and seasonings. Pound steaks and dredge in flour mixture. In a Dutch oven, brown steaks in olive oil. Add onions, tomatoes, water and wine. Bake in oven for 2 hours. Serve over egg noodles or with mashed potatoes.

Baked Pheasant
6 to 8 deboned pheasant breasts (or chicken)
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups wild rice
1 10½-ounce can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 cup red wine
½ cup cooking sherry
½ pint half and half
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon Louisiana Cajun seasoning
½ cup olive oil
1 cup water
Mix the flour, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and Louisiana Cajun spice in a bowl. Roll pheasant breasts in flour mixture and brown in olive oil.
Mix the onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and wild rice with red wine, soup and water in a large roasting pan. When you are finished browning the breasts, place them atop the wild rice mixture. Deglaze the frying pan with the cooking sherry and pour over the pheasants. Finally, add the cream.
Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours or until done. If rice mixture gets a little dry, occasionally add a little water. Serve with a vegetable and salad.

Barbecue Sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 cayenne pepper, cut up (or as many hot peppers as you like)
Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil.
Once meat is put into sauce, let mixture simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until it thickens to a carmelized consistency.
Note: This can be used for any type of wild game that’s cut up in small pieces. Fowl such as pheasant legs and thighs or duck or goose breasts first should be cooked in water; broth can be frozen and used later like chicken broth (pheasant works the best). Other meats such as venison, elk, moose or bison (or beef or pork) should be cooked and shredded, also.