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Video: Fun and game in the kitchen with ‘Girl Hunter’

TODAY recipes
updated 1/3/2012 7:29:02 PM ET 2012-01-04T00:29:02

Recipe: Moroccan Bison Stew

  • 4 pounds bison shoulder or haunch, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons grape seed oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium-size onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium-size turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots
  • 2/3 cup prunes, pitted
  • 3 to 4 cups antlered game stock or beef stock

This isn't your everyday stew, but it's perfect for the really cold months and for large gatherings when you have a lot of people to feed. It has a Middle Eastern flair, with a little sweetness and a little spice. I like to spoon it over Israeli couscous tossed with a bit of orange and lemon zest, but regular couscous or rice work just as well.

1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot with oil. In a bowl, toss the bison cubes in the flour. Shake the cubes well and place them in the pot in batches, being sure not to crowd them. Brown them on all sides and transfer to a plate or rack.

2. Put all of the browned meat back in the pan and sprinkle it with the salt, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Then add the vegetables, garlic and dried fruit. Pour in enough stock for the meat to be three-quarters covered, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat so the bubbles percolate. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours, until tender.

Also try with this preparation: beef, lamb, venison, elk and other antlered game.

Serving Size

Serves 8.

Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 cups button mushrooms (one standard package)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

My grandmother Frances Pellegrini is a home cook extraordinaire. Whenever she invited me to dinner growing up, I always requested her meatloaf. This is her recipe, taken from a family recipe book, as best as it can be put in words. She never was one to take measurements; it was always about whim and intuition. And there is something in her kitchen air that made this meatloaf turn out a special way that I have never been able to duplicate.

1. Blend the carrot, onion, celery and mushrooms in a food processor until fine but not pureed.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the mixture until softened, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt along the way to help release the juices.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients.

4. Form the mixture into a loaf and place in a baking dish. You could also use a loaf pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes more. Let cool slightly, then cut into thick slices and serve.

Also try with this preparation: beef, lamb, antlered game and bison.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe: Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns

  • 4 squirrels, cleaned and quartered, plus rib cage and loin
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Sea salt
  • 3 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups red potatoes, skin on, which have been cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups okra that has been cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup shelled and minced acorns
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Young squirrel is good simply quartered and fried. Old squirrel is good stewed. When in doubt, it is safest to braise or brew or stew a squirrel. Sometimes, for flavor and for whimsy, I like to add acorns to this recipe. Native Americans used to eat acorns, usually by grinding them and then boiling them. They are sometimes bitter because of their tannins, but this can be improved by grinding them under cold water. Acorns from the white oak, the chestnut oak, the swamp white oak, and the Garry oak are all ideal.

To prepare Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns:
1. Place the squirrel parts in a pot and cover with water. Add the lemon halves, rosemary, bay leaf, cayenne, and about a tablespoon of sea salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour, skimming the foam from the surface as it forms. Once the meat is tender, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.

2. In a separate pot, render the bacon. Ad the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, okra, chickpeas, corn, and acorns and stir.

3. Add 2 cups of the squirrel cooking liquid and stir in. Add the squirrel and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With this stew, as with most, it is best to let it sit for several hours before serving.

Also try with this preparation: rabbit, dove, turkey, upland game birds

Serving Size

Serves 8 to 10.

Recipe: Partridge with Pancetta in Orange Brandy Sauce

  • Marinade:
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 partridge, butterflied, bone in
  • To cook:
  • 4 round, thin slices pancetta
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 4 thin slices orange, cut from the center

Maybe it was the Montana air, or the fact that I had walked for so many hours and so many miles to earn it, but sitting down to eat this was a revelation. The sweetness and the saltiness and the dripping fat and the most tender breast meat I had ever sunk my teeth into, all made the perfect combination. It will work with other bird meat, but I like to think there is something about the small tender white meat of the Hungarian partridge that made the experience. I recommend keeping the breastbone in whatever meat you use, whenever possible, to help the meat stay moist.

For the marinade:
1. With a whisk, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a baking dish. Place the meat breast side down in the mixture. Marinate for 3 to 4 hours, turning over every hour.

To cook:
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Place one orange slice on each breast that is sitting in the marinade and then cover with pancetta. Fasten them with a toothpick on each side.

2. Add the cold butter to the baking dish with the marinade and place in the oven. Broil the birds breast side up, basting every 5 minutes, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the breasts and let them rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Put the baking dish back in the oven and let the sauce reduce for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Also try with this preparation: prairie chicken, pheasant, turkey, rabbit

Serving Size

Serves 4.

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