Friday, September 28, 2012

Rabbit and Deer Sausage Gumbo

Our gumbo with couscous mixed in.
For our international readers, gumbo is a soup or stew that originated in Southern Louisiana during the 18th century. According to good ol' Wikipedia, gumbo borrows from several culinary traditions, including French, Spanish, German, West African and Choctaw. Today, gumbo is as integral to Louisiana as fried chicken is to the Southern way of life.
Gumbo over white rice.
Rick and I have never had a chance to visit Louisiana, but perhaps there's a reason why gumbo is supposed to characterize its state so well. Through all the different recipes and versions of gumbo we've eaten, a few things are consistent. It's warm, playful, vibrant, down home and hearty-- we like to imagine the people of Louisiana to be this way. 

For our gumbo, we decided to mix things up a bit-- "hunter-fy" it. It's got all that great cajun taste you know and love, but with rabbit and venison sausage. Serve over rice or mix in some couscous. It's mmmm-mmmmm goood!

We'd also like to thank Camp Chef for providing us with their 7 Qt Seasoned Cast Iron Pot Set to make this recipe.  We highly recommend this pot. It includes a basket for frying and steaming as well. You can buy the set here

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/8 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup of celery, diced
- 1/2 cup green/red bell pepper (we used both from leftovers we had on hand)
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 rabbit
- 1/2 lb. venison sausage, sliced (use your favorite)
- 6 ounces of andouille sausage, diced
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts chopped
- cooked white rice or couscous (optional)

1. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a boil. 

2. Meanwhile, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flour in a bowl.  
To make the roux, heat canola oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, approx. 5 minutes. Whisk in flour.
Whisk flour constantly until the roux turns dark brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. 

Then, stir in finely chopped onion. Set aside. 
3. When water and broth boils, add diced onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. 
Next, stir in the roux in 3 batches. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. 
4. Remove any silver skin from rabbit. 
To make your life easier, chop rabbit into sections. Then remove as much meat as you can from the bones, reserving the bones. Cut the meat into 1 inch pieces. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator. 
After 30 minutes, add the rabbit bones, sliced venison sausage and diced andouille sausage to the pot. Stir in cayenne, garlic powder, coriander, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Start out with 1-2 tsp. of salt. Keep in mind that the mixture will reduce greatly. It's better to start out with less salt than more. You can always add more later. 
We recommend Chef Bruce Aidells' andouille sausages. They're delicious! 
5. After 1 hour, fish out the rabbit bones. 
With a fork, scrape off as much meat as you can. By this time, it should fall right off. Watch for little, broken bones. 
Return the pulled rabbit meat to the pot. Return the gumbo mixture to a boil, then add the reserved rabbit meat from the fridge. Cook for 30 minutes, or until gumbo reaches desired thickness. 
Adjust seasoning. Stir in chopped scallion. Serve over rice or couscous. 

This is a stick to your ribs kind of meal, for sure. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stir Fry Indian Venison Koftas

Hi there! We hope all of you are doing well. We apologize for being a little slow on posting recipes. This dish was made over a week ago, and the photos have been sitting on my MacBook, waiting to be put up. It nagged and nagged,  but unfortunately, I have been a little busy. Thankfully, I have a little time today after work and before Rick comes home to blog again. We also have a Rabbit and Venison Sausage Gumbo recipe in the works. Actually, it's already done. I just have to post it. Hopefully, soon. :-)

This is an (East) Indian inspired dish. The day after we made it, Rick's mom told us that the house still smelled good. When you fry the kofta balls, your house is immediately filled with wonderful, strange, new aromas. It almost has the same effect as frying bacon. You know, when you smell and hear it cooking, and your nose starts spinning wildly and your mouth starts salivating-- yeah, that's it. If available, serve this dish with "roti" bread. If you can't find it, this dish is also great by itself. Stir fry is also very adaptable. Use your favorite veggies or what you have on hand.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes
- 1 lb. ground venison
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala spice mixture
- 1 tsp. garlic paste
- 2 tbs. chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher/sea salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 6 scallions, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup of edamame beans (soy beans), cooked and removed from pods
- 12 baby corn cobs
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 mild green chile (like Anaheim), seeded and chopped
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- red pepper flakes, to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine ground venison with onion, cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, Garam Masala, garlic paste and 1 tbs. of chopped cilantro. 

Next, add the Panko breadcrumbs and salt, to taste. Mix well. Cover and chill for a few minutes. 
This is packaged Garam Masala, a popular Indian spice mixture. You can make it from scratch, but it's much cheaper ready made. Trying to buy all the individual spices can run your grocery bill through the roof. Indian markets also sell their spices much more cheaply than American stores. 
For those who don't know what "Edamame" is, it's just soy beans. Find it in the frozen section of your grocery store. Follow packaged directions on how to cook it. Typically, directions will tell you to add beans to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, or so. Very easy.
2. In a bowl, combine and measure out green bell pepper, edamame beans, corn cobs, cauliflower and green chile. This way, everything is ready to go. 
3. In a large wok or skillet, heat 3 tbs. of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped scallions and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Then add the bowl of vegetables and a pinch of salt. Increase heat to high and stir fry for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Set aside. 
4. Next, form venison mixture into little balls. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, cook koftas in batches.
Turn them often until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. 
5. When all koftas are cooked, reheat the vegetables. Stir in koftas. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until everything is heated through. Stir in lime juice and red pepper flakes, to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro. 
Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Eat leftover baby corn like this. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Endeavour's Last Flight Over Disneyland (video)

Yesterday was a historic day. The Endeavour, NASA's fifth and final spaceworthy shuttle, flew for the last time as it toured over major cities between Florida, Mississippi, Houston and California. Piggybacking on a Boeing 747, the Endeavour was scheduled to appear on the horizon between 9:40AM and 11:00 AM over Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Rick loves space shuttles, so of course we had to go.  We got off the freeway around 9:30 AM. Thinking that we were going to be late, we rushed across Downtown Disney as quickly as we could. 
When we arrived at the plaza between Disneyland and California Adventure, there were a few photographers straggling about. Then more and more people came, until the entire plaza filled. There was no shade and it was extremely warm. I kept looking at the time and it was well past 11. But we kept watching. Hundreds, thousands of people strained their eyes to catch a glimpse of the anything in the clear blue sky. Then we received word that the flight has been delayed. Weather complications in San Francisco was to blame for our long wait. But the space shuttle was to be there soon, no more than half an hour away. Someone from the crowd said, "This isn't a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It's just once." So we all patiently waited some more, for history happens on its own time. 

Then we heard it. All of sudden, coming in low from the Northwest, the rumble and fury of escorting jet fighters appeared. The crowd started whooping and cheering. A Boeing 747 comes gliding from behind the trees, magnificently displaying the Endeavor on its back. It whooshes by, without any hesitation or delay. People all around us went wild. 

Some people saw the Endeavor as a symbol of hope. But for us, it was something quite different. For a few fleeting moments, what we witnessed was the ending of an era. The Endeavor is the last of its kind, to retire in Los Angeles and made into a museum artifact.

* * *

When at Disneyland... do as the tourists do. Here are some photos of Downtown Disney, even though we literally live 10 minutes away. As hunters, we hate Disney. But as Americans, you can't help but get sucked in. Most of us grew up with Disney in our lives, and sometimes, it's just hard to not enjoy it. There's always that one character or movie that will forever stay in a person's heart, no matter how old you think you are. 

"The Beast" made from pure legos outside the Lego Store. AMAZING! 

Rick with Buzz and Woody, also made of Legos.

Disneyland has already started preparing for Halloween. These pumpkin characters greeted guests at the theme park's gates. 

We skipped breakfast, so Rick and I stopped by the La Brea Bakery for lunch. 

Food was delicious!
Apparently, so was the tea...

I love this man, for the little weirdo that he is... :-)

Also made of Legos, standing tall on the roof. 

* * *
THEN, we drove to West Hollywood to see a band we like from Texas called the Randy Rogers Band. Glad to see them touring outside of their state. It was a pleasure being able to watch them perform live. 
Greasy chicken wings and bottles of cold beer, it was our kind of night! We were lucky to be able to sit in reserved seating. If you ever come to SoCal, try to see a show at the Troubadour. All the greats have played here, before they became great -- the Eagles, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, Janis Joplin, Elton John... you name it! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Camp Chef

This stuff is great! It's like a spa for your cast iron. Food for Hunters is partnering with Camp Chef, so we'll be doing some giveaways sometime soon. Just haven't figured out what we're gonna make ya'll do yet ... cause, you gotta work for it, you know? But don't worry, it'll be fun!!

Trust Camp Chef for all your outdoor culinary needs!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rarebit Venison Burger

Here's our version of Umami Burger's Welsh Rabbit Burger. Yeah, its typically Welsh-- but we adapted our rarebit recipe from an Irish cookbook, so we're sticking to it. Rarebit... rabbit. What the heck? Really, it's all the same. Call it however you want, but "rabbit" does add a bit of confusion. There is absolutely no rabbit in this recipe. Rick believes that "rabbit" is our bastardized way of saying "rarebit" in the United States. Any Welsh/Irish people out there? Please clear this up for us. 

Welsh/Irish Rarebit is basically a special cheese sauce that's poured over toasted bread and baked until golden and bubbly. We do know "rarebit" means "tasty morsel," so it's a snack served at "high tea." All we did was packed the same flavors into a venison burger. Please enjoy!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-10 minutes
Cheese Mixture
- 3 cups of white cheddar cheese, shredded (buy Irish Cheddar, if you can)
- 1 tbs. cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbs. dry mustard
- 1/8 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of Guinness Stout
- cracked pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. ground venison (ground with 20% bacon fat is best)
- 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbs. dried parsley
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- hamburger buns
- sliced dill or bread and butter pickles
- corn oil, for brushing

1. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, vinegar, mustard, whole milk, cracked pepper and Guinness. Mix well. Set aside to allow ingredients to marry. 
2. In a large bowl, combine ground venison, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper and 2 tbs. dried parsley. 
Mix well. 
3. Next, add 2/3 of the cheese mixture into the venison, reserving the rest for later. Then add 1/2 cup of Panko breadcrumbs. Combine well. 
4. Prepare your grill. Form meat into 4 patties. Brush grill with corn oil to prevent sticking. Grill venison burgers, about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. When the second side is just about done, pile the rest of the cheese mixture on top of each patty, close the lid and allow cheese to melt. You can also do this under the broiler to get a nice golden brown color. 

Serve burgers with pickles and homemade french fries. 

*Do not overcook venison burgers. Ground venison dries out quickly. 
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