Hunting for Dinner: Wild Game Charcuterie (and Recipes for Goose Pastrami, Pâté, and Confit)

As a hunter, one of my primary thoughts when I am out in the field or forest is: How am I going to use whatever I kill? One of the complaints I hear from people who hunt is that they get tired of the same old ways of preparing wild game. It seems like a lot of hunters let their wild game go to waste or give it away because they don’t understand how versatile wild game can be. I grew up in a family that took most of the venison we shot and turned it in to summer sausage or jerky -- not very creative. We ended up giving a lot of it away because after eating the first 30 pieces of jerky or summer sausage sandwiches every day for a week, you lose interest and don’t want to eat either anymore.


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Heartland's Lenny Russo and His Love Affair with the Mangalitsa

Lenny Russo knows meat, but he seems to have earned an honorary degree in fat. His description of the fat from the Mangalitsa (a rare-breed, lard-type hog) he has been serving at his restaurant lately is a script of subtle differences. Comparing it to conventionally raised pork fat, the Mangalitsa (from Provenance Farms in Taylor’s Falls) is at once more stable, yet softer; healthier, but more abundant;  high in unsaturated fat and oleic acid, yet richer-tasting; clean, but also decadent.

I’ll also add: this stuff is addictive. If a good pork chop beats strong and clean like a pop song, a Mangalitsa chop seems positively orchestral. 

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Awesome Local Dinner at the Craftsman

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." -Unknown, possibly Frank Zappa or Elvis Costello

I'm at a loss for words when it comes to describing last night. Suffice to say that there was no place I'd have rather been than at The Craftsman. If you're a foodie who was anyplace near Minneapolis (we hosted guests from as far away as Des Moines, IA and Sunnyvale, CA), you were either there - or you should have been. We were thrilled to see The Birchwood Cafe well represented!

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