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Native Cooking

COLUMNIST

Game meat of all sorts is often overlooked as a major source of protein.
The price isn't bad either. Hunters who take deer are usually happy to make
gifts of it. A lot of people have tried venison in one form or another and
many say that they found it too gamey or tough. It certainly doesn't need
to be either if it is simply marinated so that the fibers can be broken
down. The marinade acts as a tenderizer and flavor enhancement. There are
few things as delicious on a cold day as venison stew.

Duck seems to be more popular and readily available than ever. It used to
be a rare treat to receive a duck or two from a hunter, especially a
cleaned one. I have found whole duck and duck breast available in the
supermarket for years now. It isn't available every day, but at least once
a week, as is ground buffalo here in the Northeast. Small game like rabbit,
quail or partridge is not found at the market here as it can be in the
Southeast and Southwest. Well, I take that back, rabbit is available
occasionally.

Simply Elegant Wild Rice

1-1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed

3 cups water

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/3 cup red wine

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 scallions, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

Boil the water with a bit of salt and cook the wild rice for about 30 - 35
minutes on a low to medium heat. Drain the rice. Put the cranberries in a
small bowl, cover with wine. They need to plump. Put the oil, vinegar,
mustard and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Put the
warm wild rice in a large bowl and add the scallions, dressing,
cranberries, apricots and a bit more salt. Toss all lightly and add the
pine nuts just before serving.

If you cannot have salt for health reasons, this mix is just perfect for
perking up flavor. It also makes a great gift.

Saltless Seasoned Salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Use a glass bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Store in a covered
glass container or in a small plastic bag.

Buffalo Roast

1 6-pound buffalo roast

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup water

3 cups apple juice

1 cup onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small can tomato sauce

Use a heavy pan like a Dutch oven and brown the roast in a bit of oil or
shortening to sear in the juices. Add all the other ingredients to the
water and apple juice, pour over the meat. Cover and simmer slowly until
done, about 3 hours (30 minutes per pound).

Venison Stew

For the stew to be good, you must marinate the meat only in a non-metal
crock or bowl. Cover it with cider vinegar and put the crock or bowl in a
cool place for two days. Then wash the meat and cover with cold water and
put in a stew pot and bring to a boil, then lower heat and add all the
other ingredients.

2 - 3 pounds venison, cut in 1-inch chunks

4 onions, chopped

4 carrots, cut in 1-inch lengths

3 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch lengths

2 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced

6 potatoes, not peeled, cut in large chunks

2 cups of beef broth

6 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

A little flour to thicken

Simmer all for 2 to 3 hours. Since moose, caribou and elk are all part of
the venison family, you can use this recipe for them as well.

Notes & Tips:

If you have wild duck soak it in cold water with 2 to 3 tablespoons of
baking soda and the same of salt for a half hour. This will not only purify
the duck, but it will take away the gamey taste as well. Stuffing it with
onion, apple or an orange while cooking also keeps down the wild taste.

A delicious sauce for duck can be made by adding one cup of red currant
jelly to the pan drippings from baked duck. Hot pepper jelly works well,
too.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Junk is something you throw away just before you realize you needed it.

Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you,
but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.