Winter is great time to stay warm and cozy while you try out a new recipe and with many Eastern Shore freezers full of newly harvested wild game, the timing couldn’t be better.
To many folks it can be more intimidating to actually cook their harvest than the hunting process itself.
There are certainly no recipe ideas on the back of the box.
Give it your best shot though, as there are so many benefits to eating venison, waterfowl and other game — and some of them may fall right in line with your New Year’s resolutions.
Your running and roaming game will also be much leaner than what’s on the store shelves, resulting in lower fat and calories per ounce than even “cage free,” “free-range,” or “grass-fed” meat.
If you want to try some game recipes yourself, but don’t hunt, don’t be afraid to simply ask a friendly camouflaged person — they may have extra to share or know someone who does for minimal or bartered cost.
So there’s the why; now, how do you cook it?
The weekday cooking route to incorporate game is often ground or chopped venison and game meat to be simply used in chili, tacos, and that sort of dish, or of course, veggies, broth, and meat in the crockpot.
But when you have more time to make some of your game meat star of the show it can be the standout flavor in your dinner.
Chances are, you’ll impress yourself and the rest of the folks at your table, whether they are big or small. (For extra impressiveness and atmosphere, pepper your meal by telling a hunter’s tale of how the deer was larger than 10 bears, or how you shot your limit in one shot, from the hip, of course).
A great place to start is Vicky Mullaney’s cookbook “The Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook,” which you’ve likely seen at some of the local shops around town.
The 870-acre lodge and property is tucked away on Woolford Creek and features unparalleled waterfowl hunting with game frequently making an appearance on the large and welcoming dinner table for visiting artists, politicians, family and other guests.
Mullaney, the chef and manager for the Lodge, doubles as a huntress and farmer, herself, making her experience very much full circle for several ingredients that pass through her kitchen.
When cooking from field to table she advises, “I think it is important for us to remember that many of the recipes we make today were once made with wild game — that’s what was available when many of our ancestors immigrated to this country.
We have become accustomed to the flavor of commercially raised meat, but it is not as flavorful or as healthy for us as wild game.”
That being said, treat yourself to a winter pick me up by cracking open an actual cook book instead of streaking up your phone with ingredients while trying to squint at a recipe.
Go out of your comfort zone and try your hand at Mallard Spring Rolls — as you prefect your rolling skills, the first few may not be perfect looking but they will be undoubtedly tasty for both foodies and hunters alike.
For geese, try her Goose Strudel” or “Canada Goose in Orange Juice.”
The Lodge’s non-game recipes also deserve their time in your kitchen, as the book also features fresh and local Eastern Shore ingredients such as Rockfish Chowder or Black Pearl Oysters to warm you up.
And of course, game dinners also wouldn’t be complete without ending in a sweet treat like “Top Gun Chocolate Pots de Creme” or “Mile High Apple Pie.”
So grab a gun and get hunting, and then grab a spoon as you warm yourself up in the kitchen!