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March 11, 2018.
Calgary, Alberta.
We’ve had more of a winter here than there’s been for two decades. Normally Calgary gets Chinooks (warming winds from the Pacific Ocean)in winter. They’ve been in short supply this winter. So it’s been tough keeping up the motivation to get outside as a family. We finally got some above zero days over the past week and so we decided to take advantage of it.

Grotto Canyon near the village of Exshaw, Alberta. It’s a mostly easy day hike for the whole family. I think we did about 7.5KMs round trip.
Before you go- bring ice grips for your boots. You don’t need crampons, just those studded things you attach to your boots.
It’s a popular ice climbing and sport climbing place, and it’s archaeologically significant because of rock wall paintings from between 500-1000 years ago.
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CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS, INFO….

Cheers.
John

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February 18, 2018
Hungarian Porkolt – stew with spatzle
Credit goes to Hank Shaw

February in Alberta is a good time for a hearty, meaty, stew like goulash.
So I had a look in ol Hank Shaw’s cookbook, Buck, Buck, Moose.
He has one called Porkolt, which has paprika, is a hearty Hungarian stew with home made dumplings, so close enough.
It’s an easy one, so if you’re not that experienced in the kitchen don’t stress it, you’ll do fine.

Maybe it’s because I’m a questioner of everything, I don’t know, but I alter pretty much every recipe I do. Sometimes that’s a good thing, especially if you’re short of an ingredient or two….
Here’s my version of Hank Shaw’s version of someone else’s recipe:
-1.5 lbs of venison, cubed
-3 onions chopped
-1/4 cup canola oil (any high heat oil)
-one cup cubed tomatoes
-salt
-paprika (Hank calls for 1/4 cup, seemed like a lot to me, so I used less. And
mine was powdered)
-2 tsp’s caraway seeds
-2 cups beef stock
-1 cup red wine
-Hank calls for 1 tsp of marjoram, I didn’t have that,so left it out.
-I like garlic, so I put in two cloves but Hank doesn’t call for it.
-I used two celery stalks, again, Hank not so much.

Directions:
-Take a heavy pot and put it on medium heat, add oil.
-When the oil is hot add the cubes of meat, sprinkle salt on meat, brown on each
side, remove from pot.
-Add chopped onions and celery and garlic to the pot with a bit of water. Scrape
all the good brown stuff off the bottom of the pan and mix it with the onions
while
they cook. Leave the lid on to conserve liquid.
-Once the onions, celery, garlic start to cook down, add the caraway seeds and
paprika. Keep cooking until it all browns up lightly.
-Add the tomatoes, venison, beef stock, and red wine in. Mix it all around.
-Reduce heat and simmer for 2.5 hours.

Hank gives directions on how to make homemade spatzle, but if you’re a newer cook, maybe run down to the grocery store and just pick up some egg noodles, spatzle if they have it.

We had this dish for supper tonight, and will definitely make it again.

There are so many ways to prepare venison and it works really well in these kinds of hearty stews.
Other substitutions that could easily be made:
-add a couple of potatoes, maybe a few carrots, hell even skip the paprika and
thicken up the broth and throw in some barley!

You worked hard for the venison, enjoy it!

Here’s a link to Hank Shaw’s cookbook on Amazon……

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January 07, 2018.
Pork-less venison sausages…experiment

Pork fat and venison in sausages have gone together since who knows when. It’s the standard method of keeping your venison sausages from being crumbly.
Sausages need moisture and flavor, so adding fat makes sense. But not everyone wants pork in their diet. Personally, I’d rather not dilute my lean, low fat, organic, high protein venison with a lower quality meat, just to add flavor and moisture.
With that in mind I thought I’d try “venison and veggie” sausages.
(This is a variation of a recipe that was recommended to me by a friend who made some.)
Here’s what’s in them:
3 Kg ground venison
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
4 celery pieces
2 medium onions
2 carrots
2 potatoes
3/4 cup of avocado oil (a high smoke point veg oil)
125g of mild Italian sausage seasoning/binder (made for sausages) mixed with 200ml of water (If you’re staying away from gluten, stay away from these seasoning/binder mixes. They contain wheat. Google gluten free sausage binder.)

directions:
Finley chop the veggies, mix with the oil, cook until veggies are soft, refrigerate until cold, mix with venison, add seasoning/binder mixture, refrigerate for 24 hours, borrow a buddy’s sausage stuffer, then make your sausages.

I BBQ’d a batch of these shortly after making and they tasted great. I suggest using a meat thermometer to make sure you don’t over cook them.

Making your own sausages is a great way to use your venison, have control over your nutrition, and add great flavor to meals. There are lot’s of resources out there on sausage making, youtube, books, & websites. If you’re at all handy in the kitchen, it’s not difficult.

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We had another “wild meat night” at the McCann household. Just like last time, we had some delicious meals and some pretty creative uses for wild game.


On the menu:
Biltong(South African jerky)whitetail, mule deer, and elk meat.
Teriyaki smoked meatballs, moose meat.
Mozzarella stuffed meatballs with tomato sauce, moose meat.
Dolmades (Greek, meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves) mule deer.
Plenty of red wine was also consumed.

I’ll try and get some cooking instructions up here too…… but you can always google it. That’s what we’d do.biltong

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Since hunting is over for the season….. Kayleigh and I went out with the 35mm’s since we can’t get out with the 7mm’s. This nice whitetail was found within a 20 minuite walk from our house this chilly morning.

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To check out my camera, click here:

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