Freshly-ground wild boar from the Texas Hill Country is mixed with chopped yellow onions, Italian sweet chili powder, fresh garlic, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Formed into patties, then fried in sage brown butter and served over two-corn polenta (fresh kernel corn and stone-ground yellow flint corn) with sweet peppers and fresh chives..
Locally pastured, bone-in heritage pork loin chops are brined in a 5% sea salt solution with rubbed sage and cracked black pepper, then patted dry and grilled over an open wood fire. Basted with a mixture of melted maple butter, raw apple cider vinegar, more sage, salt and pepper and finished to medium doneness. Served with stock-simmered brown and wild rice with sautéed brown mushrooms and sliced spring onions..
Ethically-produced pork is raised on open pasture, with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. They are free to dig, root and run as they please. Unlike industrial pork confined in foul and fetid cages, these animals are clean and healthy, receiving no antibiotics, hormones, or artificial supplements over their entire lifetime.
A densely nutritious meal from the Boreal forest, true Northern wild rice is cooked in roasted fowl stock with fresh lingonberries, then tossed with torn pieces of pan-fried smoked turkey, wild onions, fresh sage and rosemary. Drizzled with hot stock and pan drippings..
1 wild rice (if the instructions on the package call for less than 1 hour of cooking, it probably isn’t true wild rice)
2-3/4 cups homemade fowl or vegetable stock, boiling
1/2 cup fresh lingonberries, stemmed, rinsed and picked over (substitute cranberries)
1 tablespoon rendered turkey or chicken fat
pinch of sea salt
1 smoked turkey leg, skinned, pulled and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup wild onions (both green and white sections), trimmed and cut into to 1/8-inch thick slices
12 whole, fresh sage leaves, stemmed
1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary needles
2 tablespoons rendered turkey or chicken fat
freshly-cracked black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon rendered turkey or chicken fat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add wild rice and stir to coat. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes until each grain is coated and glossy.
Add 2-1/2 cups boiling stock and berries and stir to separate rice. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour. Salt to taste.
Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons rendered turkey or chicken fat in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and onions and quickly sear. Add sage and rosemary and cook until herbs are crisp, about 2-3 minutes.
To serve, combine rice and turkey in warm soup bowls. Stir the reserved stock and pan drippings together and drizzle over the top. Season with freshly-cracked black pepper.
The species of wild rice most commonly harvested is the annual Zizania palustris. Native Americans and non-Indians harvest wild rice by canoeing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, so as to thresh the seeds into the canoe.
The size of the knockers, as well as other details, are prescribed in state and tribal law. By Minnesota statute, knockers must be at most 1 inch in diameter, 30 inches long, and one pound in weight. The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain. The Ojibwa people call this plant manoomin meaning “good berry”. Some seeds fall to the muddy bottom and germinate later in the year.
Several Native American cultures, such as the Ojibwa, consider wild rice to be a sacred component in their culture. The rice is harvested with a canoe: one person vans (or “knocks”) rice into the canoe with two small poles (called “knockers” or “flails”) while the other paddles slowly or uses a push pole. For these groups, this harvest is an important cultural (and often economic) event. –Wikipedia
A twist on the chicken-fried steak familiar throughout the South (likely first introduced to Texas as Schnitzel by German immigrants in the 1800’s) , this decidedly delicious comfort food favors lean, wild venison over cube steak and adds dried herbs, fresh sage and bacon. The result is surprisingly light, crispy and deeply flavorful..
8-10 ounces wild venison backstrap (boneless loin, similar in texture to filet mignon but much more flavorful)
2-3 strips bacon
1/4 cup (loose) fresh sage leaves
beef tallow (flavor neutral) for frying
1 1/2 tablespoons pastured butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the backstrap into equal portions of about 4-5 ounces each. Place between pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound evenly into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and allow to stand 10 minutes on an absorbent surface.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the foam subsides, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and stir continuously until a thick paste is formed and the flour has lost its “raw” taste, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock and buttermilk and bring to a boil then immediately lower to a simmer. Whisk in cream and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Combine 1/2 cup flour, paprika and dry spices in a bowl or on a plate large enough to hold the pounded venison. Crack the egg into another bowl and whisk with 1/3 cup milk.
Dredge the venison in flour, shake of the excess then dip into the egg wash. Hold over the bowl to drain for a moment, then dredge in the flour a second time. Transfer the breaded venison to a plate and allow to stand 10 minutes.
Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp then add the sage leaves and fry about 1 minute. Transfer bacon and sage to the side to drain for a moment, then chop coarsely and keep warm.
Add enough tallow to the pan so the the melted volume is about 1/4 inch thick and heat to about 350 degrees. Carefully lay the breaded venison in the pan and shallow fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to the side to drain for a moment, then position on a dinner plate. Spoon gravy over the top, dress with bacon and sage and serve immediately.
The primary diet of axis deer is grass, and they will graze on new weeds and forbs. When grass is not in sufficient quantity, they may browse. Axis graze successfully on native Texas grasses such as curly-mesquite, Indian-grass, side oats grama, big and little bluestem. They do well on improved grasses, such as Klein. Seasonally, they do well on winter wheat. Browse species include live oak and hackberry. Mast includes acorns and mushrooms.
The elk is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America. Ranging in forest and forest-edge habitat, elk are ruminants, feeding on grasses, bark, forbs and tree sprouts. High in protein and low in fat, this animal was wild-harvested deep in the Texas hill country..
Allow one 5-7oz portion per person, depending on accompaniments
Medallions of wild elk loin, cut about 1 inch-thick
coarse sea salt
freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of tallow
Season elk medallions on all sides with salt and pepper, wrap loosely in butchers’ paper and refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator, blot dry and allow to stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Pan-sear with a little tallow or grill over a wood fire until just medium-rare, then allow to rest 10 minutes before serving over chipotle demi-glace.
Crushed Chipotle Demi-Glace, Home Version (adapted from Saveur)
1/4 lb. uncured bacon, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sprouted wheat, spelt or rye flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-1/2 quarts beef or game stock, divided
1/4 cup good sherry (not cooking wine)
10 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 leaves fresh sage
2 chiles chipotle en adobo, crushed
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Render bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook until somewhat softened, about 8 minutes. Use a sifter to sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook another 10 minutes. Add sherry, herbs and 8 cups of stock and simmer uncovered until reduced in volume by three-quarters, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Strain sauce, discarding solids. Return to pan with chiles chipotle en adobo and remaining stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours. Demi-glace may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Sweet and russet potatoes are boiled and mashed with sprouted wheat flour, pastured egg, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and served in a sauce of fried sage, shallots and garlic with fresh cream, steamed nettles and grated Parmesan. Topped with toasted pine nuts and shaved Asiago..
For the Gnocchi
3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour
1 large, pastured egg
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
bowl of ice water
Boil potatoes until soft then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a cutting board (reserve cooking water). Mash the still-hot potatoes with ricer or a large fork until mostly smooth, then allow to cool 5-10 minutes.
Gather the potatoes into a mound and create a well in the center. Sprinkle the flour over the top, then crack an egg into the center. Add salt and pepper and stir into the flour and potatoes as you would regular pasta. Knead gently until nearly dry, about 4 minutes.
Roll dough into 3/4″ diameter cylinders, then cut into 1″ lengths. Squish each gnocchi against the back of a fork then drop into boiling water and cook until they float, about 1 minute. Transfer to ice bath and allow to cool. Drain, lightly coat with olive oil and hold until ready to use.
For the Cream Sauce
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic, slivered
8 fresh sage leaves, torn
1 tablespoon butter
1 oz white wine
1 cup fresh cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups fresh nettles, steamed, drained and chopped as you would for fresh spinach
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic and sage and fry until slightly crisp. Add wine and reduce until nearly dry. Reduce heat to medium low and slowly whisk in cream. Cook until reduced in volume by about 1/3, then stir in Parmesan and nettles. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the gnocchi to the pan and heat through.
To serve, spoon gnocchi and cream sauce onto a plate or shallow bowl and garnish with toasted pine nuts and shaved asiago.