Hunting season may be months away, but enjoying food from the field is a year-round delight. Most hunters I know are also avid cooks and excellent eaters, so the hunt for new recipes is ever-present.
Cooking wild meat has come a long way in the last few decades. There seem to be more recipes and information available to help cooks bring out the best in game. Older recipes often treated wild meat like domestic cuts, leading to less than desirable results. That's likely why some people got turned off game in the first place.
That's all changed, and the results are delicious. Here's a collection of some of my favourites on the cookbook shelf.
Duck, Duck, Goose
The author of the James Beard award-winning blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook offers recipes and techniques for wild bird cookery. The book is divided into chapters that focus on buying, breaking down and storing your birds as well as how to cook whole birds and pieces. For a real challenge, venture into the chapter that talks about giblets, charcuterie, duck fat and eggs.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Goose bulgogi
Buy it at Amazon.ca
From the Marsh to the Table
Dr. Frank Baldwin
This local book includes innovative, delicious and some slightly upscale recipes for ducks, geese and the seldom-harvested snipe. Not to be overshadowed by the bird recipes, it also includes recipes for sauces, pates, terrines, sausages, soups, marinades, stocks, gravies and side dishes.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Spiced mallard
Buy it at Mcnallyrobinson.com
Sportsman's Gourmet Guide
The little paperback was published in Saskatoon in 1968. It's a throwback to the era when onion soup mix and chicken bouillon cubes ruled the day. Still, it's kind of fun to whip up a batch of moose meatballs or deerburgers just for old time's sake. It's most likely out of print, but look for vintage game cookbooks at garage sales. They make for some fun reading.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Prairie deer steak
Blueberries & Polar Bears Cranberries & Canada Geese Black Currants & Caribou Icebergs & Belugas
Helen Webber and Marie Woolsey
As far as I'm concerned, this quartet of cookbooks is all you'll ever need to get started and hone your skills when it comes to working with wild fish, birds, game and berries. The recipes come from Webber's Lodges, a collection of first-rate fishing, hunting and ecotourism camps across northern Manitoba, where guests are treated to innovative and delicious meals featuring the bounty of the north.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Crusted caribou tenderloin
Buy it at Blueberriesandpolarbears.com
Shel Zolkewich writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she's not playing outside, travelling or eating. You can reach her with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.