On our 2017 hunting trip my brother Loren snared enough hares to share a couple with Dad and a couple with me.
Snowshoe hares are a little bit more flavourful and tougher than their cousins cotton tail rabbits, as such they are very well suited to stews and braises.
I decided to use the snowshoe hares that Loren snared and subsequently shared with me to make a hare stew inspired by Theo’s Restaurant in Penticton, British Columbia. Theo’s has long been a family favourite and every time we go I can’t help but order their Lagos Stifatho which is the most delicious Greek rabbit stew with lots of onions and tomatoes and cinnamon and the most incredible depth and complexity of flavour.
In the interests of utilizing as much of our kills as possible, and because we love a good homemade stock, I decided to use the bones from our deer and elk this year to make bone broth. Dad used to do this when we were growing up but for whatever reason, it’s something I have never bothered with. I guess having dogs to give the bones to gave me an easy out but dogs can only chew so many bones and there are enough buried in the back yard as it is.
Step one (after removing most of the meat from the bones) was breaking down the bones into smaller pieces so that they could be tightly packed into a stock pot, especially the elk which is a large animal with large bones. This was accomplished by separating all of the joints with a knife, then using a reciprocating saw to cut the larger bones into smaller pieces and exposing the bone marrow.
We finally bought a smoker which brings us one step closer to being able to make our own sausages using our own gear. The only missing piece now is a sausage stuffer and some know-how. If you have any recommendations on those fronts, hit me up.
So far we have smoked a couple of venison roasts and a whole chicken. The roasts were only ok but the chicken was fantastic. I’ll describe what we did with the chicken below.
The smoker works really well and produces a lot of steady smoke. The smoker has what appears to be a kind of gimmicky feature; Bluetooth. That’s not what sold me on this particular smoker but I have to say now that I’ve tried it, it’s a game changer. I can set the smoker up and forget about it until I get an alert on my phone that whatever I’m smoking has reached the target temperature, or change the oven temperature from my phone etc. It’s pretty slick.
We were lucky enough to fill our freezers this year with wild game after a successful hunting season and that has allowed us the opportunity to share some of that bounty with friends and family.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people don’t have much, if any, experience cooking with wild game and there are a few things to know. Before I get to that, I’d like to touch base on why some people think they don’t like wild game, specifically, that “gamey” flavour. Continue reading “General Tips for Cooking Wild Game”
Ostensibly, this blog is supposed to be about our family, but I love food and food is no small part of our family.
I love hunting and fishing for food, gathering and growing food, cooking and preserving food, experimenting with food, and to share both the food that I make, and my ideas with others, so I’m going to document some of my experiments/favourites here. If it becomes distracting or annoying we will figure out a solution to segregate any food posts that I make so as not to detract from the main purpose of this blog. I also love booze, so watch out for that too…
So, to get to the point, we sent some deer and elk meat from our bountiful hunting trip this year back east for Christmas with our friend Matt. Matt generously reciprocated by bringing back 4 nice lobsters for us which we made short work of, but the best was yet to come!
I had been wanting to make a bouillabaisse (a french seafood stew) for a couple of years and with the big pile of lobster shells we finally had the opportunity to make a stock which would do the bouillabaisse justice.
Below are recipes for the lobster stock and the bouillabaisse we cooked up for our dinner on the eve of new year’s eve.