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Mallet

Wild Game Cookery

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Ah, I see about the ground meat. However, we like sausage, so we'll probably put the trim up in breakfast sausage. I like the idea of making my own, so that I know what goes into it. I don't buy pre-made breakfast sausage unless I have to.

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This year we managed to put together another round of the game dinner, and I daresay it was the best so far. As our hunting success increase we tend to focus on the "choice" species, so the diversity of animals was not as high.

Charcuterie Plate

Canada goose prosciutto, terrine of canada goose liver and snowshoe hare, hooded merguez

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The goose prosciutto was very good, but I miss my bar fridge/curing chamber (I had to get rid of it in the last move). I had to cure this one in the fridge. The merguez was made with hooded merganser. Mergansers are generally reviled by hunters and the butt of several similar-sounding jokes ("how do you cook a merganser? place in pot with a large brick, cook for 12 hours, eat the brick" etc...), but there was nothing objectionable whatsoever about this bird. There may be a few less mergansers around come next fall :wink:.

Hearts and Gizzards

Confit hearts and gizzards (many species), glazed turnips, toasted pecans, poached blackcurrants.

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This was the first year I've made a concerted effort to keep all hearts and gizzards from the game animals' I've harvested. This dish confirmed that this is a good idea. I made a few converts too!

Perch

Yellow perch with scallop/morel mousse and asparagus

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The mousse was fairly intense but complemented the perch rather than overwhelmed. I was supposed to make a mousseline for the asparagus but ran out of gas near the end of prep. It was very good, but I do regret skipping the sauce (the plate looks naked!)

Cod

Atlantic cod with roasted red pepper stew

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The only dish with protein not harvested by one of us. I cooked the cod sous-vide in olive oil, I think I should have given it a sear or something, because it was a little bland for my taste. On the other hand, I am very conservative with my fresh cod dishes (I ALWAYS dredge in flour and cook in butter, like we do back home), so I may simply be rebelling to change.

Wild turkey garganelle

Wild turkey, asparagus, oyster mushrooms

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A super-simple pasta sauce (combine ingredients with stock, cook to reduce), but it turned out really well. The pasta dough was the craziest recipe I've seen. 1kg flour to 40 egg yolks! It made for a super-stiff dough that was hard to work initially, but once it made it through the roller a few times it turned into a dream. The dough would not stick to anything except itself, but only when we wanted it too. Magic.

Deer

Deer backstrap with coriander/vanilla endives, king oyster mushrooms, balsamic reduction, guinness emulsion.

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The sleeper hit. For whatever reason this dish did not take up a lot of my mental attention when cooking the dinner, but it was very good and shows that even the chef can get a surprise! The guinness foam did not hold up for very long.

Dry shot

breadcrumbs, red pepper powder, black olive powder, fried capers, fried oregano, garlic chips

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Pretty tasty, but much too salty for me. Methinks I should have used capers in vinegar instead of salt-packed ones.

Goose confit

Canada goose leg confit, yam cake, plum sauce/mustard

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I thought this dish was going to be polarizing, because of the yam cake (it's rice-flour based, and also has dried shrimp). It had a little bit of a glutinous texture and tasted a little odd on its own, but it really went well with the confit. Confit goose legs are awesome. Goose legs in general are one of my favourite things.

Cranberry

frozen/chewy cranberry, orange purée

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A fun and tasty bite, made possible by Ultratex-3.

Apple

Poached apples, apple génoise, apple sorbet, apple chip, ginger custard, milk jam

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Usually I finish a meal like this with a simple sorbet, but this time we went for the grand finale. This dish was probably the most labour-intensive to make, because there were so many components. Totally worth it.

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I was fortunate to have a photographer in attendance! Now, tell me more about this porcupine in your freezer.

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A few days ago we roasted a few birds. It's always cool to have different species side by side, in this case mallard (background) and ring-necked duck (foreground). Ring-necks are not a duck I eat terribly often, I simply don't target them and they are less common in the habitats I frequent.

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The ring-neck beat this particular mallard hands-down. It was way fatter, which probably helped, but the fat itself was very good, mild and meaty, not funky at all. This particular bird's crop was chock-full of aquatic invertebrates when harvested, so I was skeptical of it at first. More and more I am finding these tales of inedible fishy or otherwise funky ducks to be greatly exaggerated, although I have not yet eaten common or red-necked merganser.

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Ringnecks have long been one of my favorite ducks to eat. Don't get them too often in my present location however.

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