Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grilled Venison with Buttery Bacon Cream Sauce

Hello all! I have here today a very simple dish that even guys can make! ... Kidding, guys. Some of our favorite followers are guys that are actually well versed in the kitchen. Chefs, even! Really, I'm not jealous-- I'm not. O.k., just a little.

Anyway, this is a very simple and quick recipe for those days when you want to just whip up something good and fast. Good? How can anything have bacon, butter and half & half in it not be good? And to top it all on a venison steak? Alright, I'm getting hungry again... Well, here it is. Enjoy and share with all your friends. From the field to your table. Bon appetite! - Rick

Servings: 1
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
- 4 ounces of venison steak(s)
- 1 tsp. of olive oil
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped (It's more than you need... but hey, who doesn't like to sample bacon while waiting for other ingredients to cook?)
- 1 tbs. of butter
- 4 shallots
- 1/4 cup of half & half
- 2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. Trim steaks of all silver skin. Lightly salt, rub with olive oil and place on a pre-heated grill. Cook until medium-rare, but no longer than that. 
Keep warm on heated plates and cover with foil. 
2. In a small saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour out bacon fat but DO NOT wipe the saucepan. 
Add butter and shallots, and cook until shallots are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in half & half and simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
3. Pour sauce over steaks and sprinkle with bacon. Garnish with freshly chopped green onion. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Norfolk Daily News: Bacon Comment

If you haven't already heard on Facebook or Twitter, I made the front page of the Norfolk Daily News last Friday. Yay!

For those visiting this website because of the story, I'd like to welcome you all to Rick and I hope that you will find our blog useful and interesting. I also have to clear up something-- I told the writer during my interview that Rick and I created this blog to show people "how to cook wild game without using bacon." Obviously, that's not true-- because I used bacon in the last recipe I made: Pheasant Tortilla Soup. When I say "without bacon," I mostly say it tongue-in-cheek, but there is some truth to it. 

When we started this blog, Rick and I made a conscience decision to try to stay away from old, tried and true wild game recipes. Heck yes! Wrapping anything in bacon would taste good. But everyone does it and knows about it. Why blog about it then? When I said "without using bacon," I meant that bacon is used sparingly. Typically, we use it for a specific purpose, to add fat or richness to a dish, to try to keep certain cuts moist during a cooking process that might dry them out, or to use bacon in alternative ways, like incorporating it into a sauce-- which you will see in Rick's next recipe. That's what I meant. I'm not trying to knock bacon in any way, or to say that we're too snooty for it. This blog exists for the simple purpose of providing fine folks, like yourselves, new ways to prepare and enjoy wild game.

Bacon is good. Bacon is heavenly. Bacon is our friend.

You can read the story here:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pheasant Tortilla Soup

I am a Chicken Tortilla Soup eating fiend, and this is a recipe that I've always wanted to make with pheasant. If there's chicken tortilla soup on the menu, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will order it. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite restaurants in California called Island Burgers. Yes-- I'm one of those weird people who will go to a burger joint just to order soup. Trust me. It's THAT good! No one makes chicken tortilla soup as good as they do, which is ironic because there's nothing Mexican about the restaurant... it's Hawaiian themed. Anyway, I am thrilled to be able to share this recipe with you using pheasant, one of my favorite wild game meats. It may take a bit of time to make, but it's well worth the wait. 

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: about 3 hours
- 1 whole pheasant, skin off
- 4-5 strips of bacon
- 10 cups of water
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of diced corn tortillas 
- juice of 1 lime
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tsp. of chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. of paprika
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbs. of fresh cilantro, minced

Tortilla Strips:
- 2 cups of vegetable oil
- 6 6-inch yellow corn tortillas
- chili powder, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. of salt

- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 avocados, diced

Before you serve this soup to guests, make sure you apologize beforehand for any stray feathers that might be found in the soup. As hard as I tried to get as every bit off the bird as I could before cooking, I simply couldn't. 
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a baking dish with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Lay 4-5 pieces of bacon side by side in the baking dish. I used the 5th piece later to fill in the gaps as the bacon shrank during cooking.
Lay pheasant on top of the bacon and wrap the bacon around the bird as best as you can. The bacon's sole purpose is to keep the bird from drying out in the cooking process. It will not be included in the soup. 

2. Roast the pheasant in the oven at 500 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then remove the bird from the oven and lower heat to 350 degrees F. Return the bird and continue roasting for 40-45 minutes, or until fairly cooked through. Don't worry if it's still a little red inside because the pheasant will continue to cook in the soup. 
Tip: While the pheasant is roasting in the oven, start chopping up the veggies. I always try to do a couple things at once in the kitchen to save time. 
3. When the pheasant is cool enough to handle, remove the bacon strips. Pick off as much meat as you can. DO NOT DISCARD THE BONES. I suggest keeping the leg meat on the bird, since it will most likely be tough.  At this point, you can snack on the bacon or save it for later to chop up in stir fries or whatever you want. 
4. In a big pot, simmer pheasant carcass in 10 cups of water for 30-45 minutes. 
Next, remove and discard any visible fat from the meat. It's not needed in the soup.
Shred with meat with forks and set aside. 
5. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbs. of the pheasant and bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic, peppers, carrot and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
6. After 30-45 minutes of simmering, remove and discard the pheasant bones. 

Add sautéed veggies, diced tortilla, lime juice, shredded pheasant meat, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover and simmer soup for 1 hour. 
Add chopped cilantro 30 minutes in. 

7. Cut 6 yellow corn tortillas into thin strips. Heat 2 cups of oil in a medium sauce pan. (Oil is hot enough when test strip bubbles rapidly.) Fry strips in batches until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Toss in cayenne, paprika, chili powder and salt, to taste. 
Once the soup is done, taste to adjust seasonings. 

8. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with diced avocados, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and fried tortilla strips. 

Then slurp it all up! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trout Stocking in East Branch Verdigre Creek

Just wanted to share this cool photo I took last week of a beautiful rainbow trout being released into the East Branch of Verdigre Creek in Northeast Nebraska for stocking. A total of 200 were released that day. Stocking takes place once a week, all year long. To read the rest of my blog post, please visit the link below. 

Blog link:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pheasant Wraps with Quinoa and Cilantro-Lemon Aioli

Now every time I use cilantro, I think of Rick's cousin Chris. She absolutely hates cilantro. So Chris, I guess this recipe isn't for you. Sorry! Although, it's not really her fault. Cilantro haters are actually genetically predisposed. They have a certain gene that makes cilantro tastes soapy or bitter. It's too bad because cilantro is a must in all sorts of Latin American and Asian cuisines-- not to rub it in. It serves as a refreshing, bright addition to many dishes. 

I have extra reason to be happy about this recipe because it's pheasant! I have been wondering how to get just one pheasant for myself, and I ended up with six! During a photoshoot at Pheasants Bonanza in Tekamah, NE, the guides gave me all the birds they shot that day. 
I came home with a total of six pheasants and one chukar. The club's chef, who was also a guide, taught me how to properly clean the birds-- something I've never done before. It was an awesome day. 

This recipe allows for a lot of variation. You can use quinoa, but couscous is also delicious as well. Cook quinoa plain or add your favorite veggies on hand. It's a light, refreshing dish, perfect for lunch or maybe even party appetizers.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes 
Cooking Time: 30 minutes minutes
- 2 pheasant breasts, cut into strips
- 1 1/2 cups of panko breadcrumbs 
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- vegetable oil, for frying
- butter lettuce
- 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1 tsp. of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of diced onion
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of tomatoes, diced
- grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- 1/3 cup of mayo
- 1/4 tsp. of lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp. of Hungarian paprika, or regular
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. of cilantro, minced

1. Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook chopped onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Combine 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa and 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook covered according to package directions or until all liquids are absorbed. Once cooked, mix in tomatoes, chopped green onion and Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasonings and allow to cool. You can do this in advance, too. 

2. In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Set aside.

3. Cut pheasant breasts into strips against the grain. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, to taste. 
4. Place panko, flour and beaten egg in separate dishes/bowls. 

Dredge pheasant strips in flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg and then breadcrumbs again. 
5. Heat 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry pheasant strips in batches, about 1 minute each side or until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. 
Drain on paper towels.
6. Spread some quinoa onto each butter lettuce. Lay fried pheasant on top and drizzle with the cilantro-lemon aioli.


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