Tuesday, February 12, 2013

High Speed Venison

by Leon Pantenburg
We were somewhere between the "Food is Fuel" and "Use the Dutch Oven to Cook Something Wonderful" philosophies of wilderness campfire cooking.
So this recipe, named "High Speed Venison" because of its speedy preparation, was chosen. Mike set up the stove and Dutch oven on the tailgate of my pickup; Phil sliced up some backstrap from a deer he'd killed, and I sliced onions. All this preparation took less than five minutes.
Ingredients for this dish go on every hunt. All you have to do is add venison, and you have a great, tasty meal that doesn't require a lot of preparation. We've cooked this same dish in the parking lot of the motel in Orofino, Idaho; outside of a motel room in Lowell, Idaho, and at home, when a quick meal was in order.
A great, easy side dish is to slice potatoes and onions, add butter, and wrap everything in foil. Toss this package in the coals, turn occasionally and cook until done.
While the other two went down to the river to swim and clean up, I watched the food. Phil came back up to the truck, so I could go take a swim. By the time everyone was cleaned up, we were ready to eat.
2-3 lbs venison steaks
1 pkg beefy onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 onions, sliced
3/4 C milk
salt and pepper
Trim fat off steaks and brown in skillet or cast iron Dutch oven. Mix together the mushroom soup, beefy onion soup mix and milk. Pour over steaks. Add onions and bouillon. Simmer one hour. Serve over rice.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Squirrel Mulligan

Some recipes, like this one, are old friends.
by Leon Pantenburg
Recipes trigger memories sometimes, and that's what happened when I came across this mulligan recipe. The date on it is December 16, 1989, it has a 3.5 star rating out of a best possible four and I remember why I cooked it.

Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce newcomers to hunting. This squirrel recipe is good for stretching food resources when you don't have much meat, or only harvested one small game animal. (Pantenburg photo)
Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce newcomers to hunting. (Pantenburg photo)

At the time I lived in Washington D.C., and I frequently hunted at Quantico Marine Base, south of the city.
Check out the striker and charcloth for flint and steel firemaking!
For a country type such as me, weekend hunting trips helped me keep my sanity amid the Beltway hustle and pressure associated with a stressful job.
Shotguns were required to hunt on the base, but there was a loophole that allowed blackpowder rifles for small game hunting. Blackpowder is my favorite method of hunting anyway, and my .40 caliber flintlock was my ticket to small game heaven. All hunters were required to check in at the gate before dawn, and each was allotted 160 acres to hunt on for the day. I had scouted the land, and knew where the hickory and oak groves were, and I usually got my favorite spot.
There is something about drifting through a hardwood grove just after dawn, wearing a powder horn and shot bag and hunting with a genuine longrifle that is makes it impossible to worry. The smell of the damp leaves, and ker-flu of the flintlock firing, followed by the fog of powder smoke were part of an incredible experience and harvesting a squirrel was a bonus.
On this particular day, I was shooting well, and had killed three squirrels with three headshots. I hiked out to my car, and ran across two other squirrel hunters. My flintlock usually gets some looks and comments and this day was no different. I explained the complexity of loading and firing the rifle, and the feel I got hunting with it.
All this was lost on one of the hunters, who was packing a Remington semi-automatic shotgun.
"But it's got to be a handicap, hunting with that thing," he said. "What do you use when you want to kill some squirrels?"
"I got three squirrels with three shots," I answered. "How are you guys doing?"
They both laughed.
"Not that good!"
Later that week, I was looking for a recipe to use three squirrels, and found this one. It's a winner!
Squirrel Mulligan
3 squirrels, dressed
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 russet potatoes, diced
4 Tbs chili pepper
salt to taste
pepper to taste
dash of Louisiana hot sauce
1 c cooked rice
Stew squirrels in water until tender. Removed meat from bones. Place meat into broth, and bring to a boil; add remaining ingredients except rice. Cook 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add rice and serve.
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