SCOTT RALL COLUMN: These turn out better than you would ever expect
Now that the pheasant hunting season is over, it's time to try a few new recipes and some old favorites for wild game in my freezer.
The biggest challenge with cooking almost all wild game is centered on the hunters' wife. I would say that 90 percent of the hunters I know will tell me that their wives will not consider a meal of wild game unless the hunters initiate it and prepare it themselves.
This reluctance might very well trace its origins back decades to the term "wild game." Just the term gives you the thought of a dish with a strong gamey taste that most diners find unappealing.
For the first 20 years of my wild-game cooking, I, too, went for the "cover up the wild game with some other taste" method.
Of all the wild game taken, I think that 85 percent of it is pan fried and then smothered in some mushroom soup and simmered for about four days in the effort to cover up the taste of the meat to make the contents edible.
Old habits are hard to break. Even with the release of many wild-game cookbooks, there is still a lot of this going on.
I thought I would share with you an old favorite that I was recently asked to republish and a newer concoction that I have been getting really good reviews with.
The first is the old favorite, "Heart Attack Pheasant."
You need a few pheasants, three sticks of butter and a 16-ounce container of sour cream. Start by cutting the breasts into four to five smaller pieces and separate the legs from the thighs.
Coat the pieces in flour with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Fry in good old butter over medium-high heat until browned.
Remove the pheasant and place in a glass baking dish. Add the sour cream to the frying pan and scratch up all the pan fryings with a wooden spoon. Add milk to make a loose gravy and pour this melody over the pheasant pieces.
Cover the dish and bake at 325 degrees for a little more than an hour. Remove the lid 20 minutes before its done to brown the top. You can slice onions and lay them over the top and they brown up just perfect.
This is about 3,000 calories per bite, so it is not a dish served three times a week, but even those who can pull up their nose to their eyebrows when it comes to wild game, will have seconds and thirds of this dish.
I cooked this dish a week ago and used a crock pot instead of the oven and it was not nearly as good, so I would skip that method.
I will be out of birds by March 1 and almost all of them will meet their end being prepared this way.
The second hunter experiment I tried on some wild boar was given to me from a recent hog hunting trip in Texas. This is a recipe for poor quality cuts of meat and I have used it on almost every wild animal with four legs.
Start by cutting the meat into chunks bigger than a 50-cent piece. Remove all of the fat and grisle, as possible. Fry uncoated in olive oil until its done to medium well. Pour the oil out and discard. Start the process over with the next batch.
The gamey taste of wild game is found in the fats and tallow. By ridding yourself of the oil each time, the gamey taste goes with it.
Add a cup soy sauce to six cups of water to a large stew pot and add the meat chunks. Let that simmer for about four to five hours. Add water as necessary.
Add the stiffer vegetables like celery, carrots and potatoes and continue simmering until they are about half done. Then, add corn, black beans, chopped onions, mushrooms and water chestnuts to the pot.
When the carrots are just about done, add one or two green, red and yellow peppers cut into strips.
Continue simmering unitl the peppers are cooked, but still crisp.
This has a weeks' worth of sodium in it. So, it's also not a three times-per-week meal.
The thing to remember is to put in three times more meat than you will think you need. All you need to hear from your buddies at the Pheasants Forever meeting is that their bowl was light on the meat ingredient.
This is a hearty and satisfying wild-game meal that everyone who has tried it loves. The poor cuts of meat have been simmering so long that they just melt in your mouth.
The gamey state went out with the oil. I have never had a complaint and this is using wild hog, which is certainly not the most desirable starting point.
I wonder what it would taste like using a nice deer roast.
Give these two recipes a try and, even though by doing so, you might feel like you are taking a big leap into the great unknown, the end results will more than surprise you.
It is a nutritional fact that the lean cuts of wild game are very healthy options for you. Just adjust the salt to your individual needs.
Scott Rall is The Daily Globe's outdoor columnist. His column can also be read weekly at www.dglobe.com.