Are You Game?

Ah food, it’s a popular topic with me as of late. We’ve had the desire to branch out a bit in terms of our culinary repertoire, so game seems like a natural direction. My husband and I have both had bison and venison, and I have had pheasant, so it’s not completely foreign to us. But what is game, really? Well, Wikipedia defines game as “any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated”. So while bison is all farm-raised, and so is venison for the most part, they still fall into the game category.

We’ve been interested in trying caribou, elk, moose, and wild boar. Finding this type of meat can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. A good, reputable hunter is probably your best bet. The best way to find someone is probably word-of-mouth through people you know (yes, even you city folk- I bet someone knows someone who knows someone). You’ll want someone who will follow the law (hunting in-season, not taking off-limits or over-limit animals) and one who knows how to properly dress (clean and butcher) his or her catch. You want someone with a sustainable mind- not a sport hunter, and certainly not a poacher! You can also find more “common” game animals farmed in small operations– venison, game birds like pheasant, rabbitt, and other small game animals are sometimes farmed. For example, you can find bison, mountain sheep, geese, elk, and venison at www.eatwild.com through sustainable, independent producers (no factory farms!). On their multi-state listing page, you’ll find producers that do web orders and cross-country shipping (though I do encourage you to check out your local producers first and foremost, of course!). If you’re looking for buy from a producer or farmer, the same considerations apply– someone sustainable, not a big factory outfit. Human carnivores have a responsibility to be respectful to the creatures that feed us!

So, once you get it home, what do you with it? At first I was hard-pressed to find game recipes that sounded good, but then I stumbled upon a wealth of good ones on Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/find/browse/results?type=browse&att=93&threshold=50). A few of my favorites (I saved them in PDF files for my own conveniance, and will share them with you in that format):

roasted-leg-of-wild-boar.pdf

tea-smoked-duck-breast.pdf

cider-brasied-pheasant-w-pearl-onions-apples.pdf

spiced-venison-steaks-w-red-cabbage-confit-red-wine-sauce.pdf (red-cabbage-confit.pdf)

pan-roasted-quail-w-port-sauce.pdf

roasted-quail-w-juniper-berreis-balsamic-vinegar.pdf

spice-rubbed-quail.pdf

A few good cookbooks you can look for are D’Artagnan’s Glorious Game Cookbook (by the gourmet food purveyor D’Artagnan, check them out at www.dartagnan.com), The Wild Game Cookbook by Judith Bosley and the Wild Fish & Game Cookbook by John Manikowski. Here’s to good eating!

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2 thoughts on “Are You Game?

  1. Not to shill, because I do work for them, but I did want to mention that D’Artagnan also sells venison, wild boar, quail, pheasant, squab (wood pidgeon), rabbit, duck, and Scottish wild game, as well as the Glorious Game cookbook by Ariane Daguin. Some of the books recipes can also be found on the D’Artagnan website.

    Bon appetit!

  2. The nice thing about game meat is that, as far as I know, it CAN’T be factory farmed; the animals are simply too strong, unruly and wild to be confined safely and cost effectively. I take comfort in that whenever I buy the occasional elk or bison meat (it’s expensive, but it tastes wonderful). If you do know of factory farming of game animals, please drop me a line.

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