Sunday – Yes, We’ll Have Chicken Wings…
…and some kind, or several kinds, of “poppers.” Who doesn’t like a hunk of marinated game meat, wrapped with a jalapeno pepper and bacon? But as much as I like chicken wings and bacon-wrapped meat, I like to mix it up a bit on game day. Since The Big Game is often more about the food and beverages and less about the game, why not make it interesting? Besides, you’ve got a mess of people, some with designated drivers, who make excellent guinea pigs for your latest wild game creation.
Here are a few of my favorite alternatives to standard football fare.
Prosciutto Wrapped Duck with Mango and Jalapeño
(From the Ducks Unlimited Magazine – March/April 2012)
My answer to bacon-wrapped duck. Allow at least 4 or 5 per person. This recipe makes 24 pieces, or about 6 portions.
24 strips of skinless duck breast fillets, about 1/2-inch thick by 2 inches long
6 jalapeño peppers
24 thin-sliced strips of prosciutto
24 slices of just-ripe mango, about 1/2-inch thick by 2 inches long
24 toothpicks or small wooden skewers
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
A dash of Tabasco
1/3 cup olive oil
1.To prepare the marinade, whisk together all the ingredients except olive oil in a large, nonreactive bowl until well blended. While whisking, add the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Add the sliced duck, cover, and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.
2. Place the jalapeño peppers on a cutting surface and slice 4 pieces lengthwise from the outside. This will eliminate splitting and scraping seeds away. When you’re done with each pepper, you should have 4 seed-free jalapeño slices plus the stem section with the ribs and seeds attached. If you prefer your duck on the spicy side, add some of the seeds to the marinade.
3. Remove the duck strips from the marinade and drain. Lay prosciutto slices on a work surface. Place a strip of jalapeño, then mango, and finally duck across one end of the prosciutto. Roll the prosciutto up and over the duck, jalapeño, and mango while keeping it snug with your fingers. Secure with a toothpick.
4. Cook evenly on a hot grill, cast-iron skillet, or broiler until lightly browned on all sides (for about 7 to 9 minutes total).
Jalapeno Fish Spread
When most folks think about making a fish spread, it’s all about salmon or maybe tuna. While both fish make great spreads, it’s easy to make a delicious fish spread with just about any type of fish. It’s also a good way to use up leftover cooked fish, which is often thrown away after it has stunk up the kitchen and refrigerator. Reheating last night’s leftover crappie just sounds crappy. Use cooked fish as you would canned tuna or salmon and you’ll find that it’s much easier to swallow. How you cook the fish really doesn’t matter. You can broil, bake, fry, grill, smoke…I like to serve the spread on homemade tortilla chips or sourdough toast.
Makes about 2 Cups
1 1/2 cups cooked fish fillets, flaked
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 green olives with pimento, chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (or more) jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1.Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill for 1 – 2 hours before serving.
The Big Game Mixed Bag Stew
Some folks might call this gumbo, but I have too many friends in Louisiana who would take issue with the name and, for a variety of reasons, would make me listen to a long-winded explanation of why it’s not gumbo. It’s pretty much the same deal with those folks (Texans) who maintain that chili’s not chili if it has beans. I like my chili with or without beans.
Take this opportunity to clean out your freezer and use up smaller quantities of large and small game. My version usually has a mixture of game meats, sausage and shrimp. Quantities of each aren’t exact. My stew includes okra, sweet and hot peppers, onions, garlic and maybe even some canned fire-roasted tomatoes. Brown the meats and vegetables, let them simmer while you’re avoiding getting any housework done before the game and adjust for flavor at the end. It’s also great served over rice.
10 to 12 servings
2 quarts boneless, skinless game meat, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 pounds)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Hi Mountain Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons Hi Mountain Italian Herb Seasoning
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 bell peppers, any color, roughly chopped
2 – 3 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups spicy game sausage, 1/4-inch slices
2 quarts beef, chicken or game broth
2 14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups fresh or frozen okra, sliced
1 pound large shrimp (preferably harvested by American shrimpers!), peeled and deveined
dash or two Worcestershire sauce
1. Combine flour, Cajun Seasoning, Italian Herb Seasoning and kosher salt. Toss with meat (not sausage) in a large bowl to coat evenly. Shake off excess.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-duty stock pot or Dutch oven. Add meat, a cup or two at a time, until all is evenly brown. If using a smaller pot, brown meat in batches. once meat is browned, add peppers, onions and garlic and lightly brown.
3. To the pot, add sausage, broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
4. Add okra and cook for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a few minutes more, until shrimp is just cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste.