Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Complete Wild Game Cookbook

The Complete Wild Game Cookbook
By Jean-Paul Grappe

Paperback, 368 pages

Believe it or not, meats do not originate in the supermarket, pre-packaged and portioned and cellophaned.

Responsible hunting for food is a way of life around the world that is as old as man and is making a come-back with the call to a more nature-based lifestyle.

The Complete Wild Game Cookbook is a wonderful resource for the home kitchen chef that would like to increase their use of game meats or "up their game" in terms of preparing and serving them.

This is not your basic cookbook, the forward itself is by Paul Bocuse, with a piece on Hunting and Respect by Francoise Kayler.

It includes a chapter on the Structure and Tenderness of Meat and is divided into two main sections - Game Birds and Game Animals. Each section is treated with care and is an informative guide to each animal presented, how to bring out maximum flavour and texture, and includes high-end recipes that are restaurant quality without being too fussy.

Marinades, Stock, Roux and Sauce Recipes allow the reader to bring out the best of their game meats as well as the myriad tips and techniques demonstrated in the book.

No fear here - it's game time!

Mitch Mandel/Rodale Images
Fried Moose Ribs with Red Cabbage, Poached Pears and Candied Chestnuts
To Martin Picard at Au Pied de Cochon restaurant, who created a new approach to Québécois cuisine.

2 lbs    red cabbage, finely sliced    1 kg
3 tbsp    vinegar    45 mL
2    lemons, divided    2
2    Russet apples, peeled and finely diced    2
2 tbsp    chopped horseradish    30 mL
1⁄2 cup    granulated sugar, divided    125 mL
21⁄2 tbsp    duck fat    37 mL
1    onion, minced    1
11⁄2 oz    cranberries    45 g
4 tsp    all-purpose flour    20 mL
3⁄4 cup    red wine    175 mL
4    Bosc pears    4
2 cups    unthickened light game stock or    500 mL
    store-bought equivalent
3⁄4 cup    butter, divided    175 mL
1⁄4 cup    vegetable oil    60 mL
4    bone-in moose ribs (each 51⁄2 to 7 oz/160 to 210 g)    4
5    juniper berries, finely crushed    5
1⁄2 cup    Madeira wine    125 mL
2 cups    unthickened dark game stock or    500 mL
    store-bought equivalent
10    porcini or other mushrooms    10
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4    candied chestnuts    4

1.    Place sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Add vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, diced apples and horseradish. Marinate for 1 hour.

2.    Make a light caramel with half the sugar. In a saucepan, combine 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) sugar and 2 tbsp (30 mL) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, continue to cook, about 5 minutes. Add warm duck fat, then onion. Lightly brown. Add red cabbage mixture, remaining sugar and cranberries. Add 11⁄4 cups (300 mL) water and cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a spoon, for 1 hour. Sprinkle with flour. Add red wine and cook until red cabbage is fork-tender.

3.    Peel pears, cut in half and remove stems and seeds. Add pears and light game stock to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until pears are fork-tender.

4.    Heat 1⁄3 cup (75 mL) of the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add moose ribs and sear until golden brown on the outside but still very rare on the inside. Remove excess cooking fat and add juniper berries. Deglaze saucepan with Madeira wine. Pour in dark game stock and reduce by half. Adjust seasoning, pour through a fine-mesh strainer, then whisk in 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of butter. Set aside.

5.    Clean and thoroughly wash mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of butter, juice of remaining lemon and mushrooms and fry quickly until softened. Set aside.

6.    Place half a candied chestnut inside each pear and heat in microwave oven.

7.    To Serve: Place a half pear stuffed with a candied chestnut in a dish. Arrange moose rib on top, pour sauce over and add mushrooms on the side. Serve red cabbage separately on a small plate.

Instead of moose ribs, use bison, muskox, caribou, deer, elk, beef or veal.

Mitch Mandel/Rodale Images
Hare with Blackcurrants
In memory of my friend, Chef François Cara

•    Dutch oven

2    small hares (each 11⁄2 to 13⁄4 lbs/750 to 875 g)    2
12    whole shallots    12
1    stalk celery    1
1    carrot, thinly sliced    1
1    bouquet garni    1
4    cloves garlic    4
11⁄4 cups    blackcurrant wine    300 mL
1⁄4 cup    grapeseed oil    60 mL
2 tbsp    black peppercorns    30 mL
2 tbsp    salt    30 mL
1⁄4 cup    vegetable oil    60 mL
1 cup    brown game stock    250 mL
160    blackcurrants (see Tips)    160

1.    Cut hares into pieces. Set aside thighs, saddles and shoulders, and cut breasts into small pieces for the sauce.

2.    Add pieces of hare breast, shallots, celery stalk, thinly sliced carrot, bouquet garni and garlic to a heavy-bottomed skillet. Pour in blackcurrant wine and grapeseed oil. Add peppercorns and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 36 hours.

3.    When you’re ready to cook, remove hare breasts from marinade. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 4 thighs, 4 shoulders and 2 saddles, each cut in two and cook, stirring, until firm, but not browned, about 5 minutes per side (see Tips, left). Place hare breast and its marinade in a large Dutch oven and heat. Add brown game stock and simmer gently until completely cooked. The blood of the animal will have slightly thickened the sauce.

4.    Using a slotted spoon, drain pieces of hare and shallots. Set aside. Pour sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add pieces of hare, whole shallots and blackcurrants to the sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

The pulp of the blackcurrant contains many seeds. Black­currants are tart, juicy and flavorful. They are used in cooking and to make crème de cassis, blackcurrant syrup and fruit jelly.
We do not fry the meat of a hare, we “stiffen” it, which means that we cook it in hot fat just long enough to stiffen the fibers without coloring the meat.

Serving Tips
Serve hot with boiled potatoes, crosnes, salsify or chestnut purée.

Instead of hare, use rabbit or Arctic hare.

Courtesy of The Complete Wild Game Cookbook by Jean-Paul Grappe © 2015 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.