Wild Recipes from Local Chefs

You know how to hunt and fish for the freshest cut, now follow these recipes to learn how to cook it.

Healthy Habit: Five-spice Duck Breast with Blueberries

2 Muscovy duck breasts, about 1 pound each
Salt and white pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, smashed or diced
1 shallot, finely diced
4 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 ounces blueberries
1/2 cup chicken broth

Trim duck breasts as necessary, removing extraneous fat or gristle. Score the skin side of the breast diagonally with a sharp knife.
[2] Season both sides of the duck breasts with salt and white pepper, then sprinkle both sides evenly with five-spice powder. Mix together ginger and garlic and use it to slather the breasts. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. (You can also wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or even overnight. Then bring back to room temperature before cooking.)
[3] Place a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, lay duck breast in it skin-side down. Let sizzle gently for 7 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden, adjusting heat as necessary to keep from getting too dark too quickly. Turn breast over and cook 3 to 5 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer should register 125 degrees for medium rare. Remove from pan and let rest for 10 minutes on a warm plate. Drain fat from pan (reserve for another use if you wish).
[4] Make the sauce: Over medium heat, add shallots to same pan and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add sherry, brown sugar and half the blueberries, stirring until sugar is dissolved and berries have released their juice. Add chicken broth, raise heat and simmer rapidly until liquid is reduced by half and a bit syrupy. Strain the contents of the skillet into a small saucepan and keep warm.
[5] To serve, slice duck breast thinly across the grain on a diagonal and arrange on a platter. Spoon the sauce over the meat and garnish with the rest of the blueberries.

Kevin Yeung of Healthy Habit provided this sweet and healthy recipe for duck breast. Serve with a side of roasted potatoes, seasoned with rosemary and thyme.

FARM Bluffton: Jerk Marinated Charcoal Grilled Quail

Ingredients (Marinade)
10 Allspice berries
2 scallions
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 medium onion, peeled
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chilies
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
10 peppercorns

In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients. Puree until somewhat smooth. In a large bowl, marinate the quail for at least three hours, and up to 24 hours.

Ingredients (Quail)
6 each skin-on, semi boneless quail
1/2 cup red onion, julienned
2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
10 mint leaves, torn
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil

Prepare charcoal grill. When coals are nice and hot, season quail lightly with salt on both sides.
[2] Place the quail directly over the coals, skin side down. The marinade on the quail will char up slightly. Once the skin is nice and crispy, flip the quail and finish cooking on the flesh side.
[3] In a small bowl, add the red onion, scallions, mint leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss lightly until evenly mixed.
[4] To serve, place the quail on a plate and serve a small amount of the onion salad over top of the quail.

FARM Bluffton chef Brandon Carter provided this tasty quail recipe. These tiny birds have a lot of flavor for their size.

The Pearl Kitchen + Bar: Rabbit Cacciatore

2/3 rabbit (cut into 6 pieces)
Salt and white pepper
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
4 pearl onions, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 cups canned plum tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green pepper, medium dice

Coat rabbit pieces in salt & white pepper, thyme and flour. Brown in extra virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Set rabbit aside and allow to rest.
[2] Reduce heat in pan, add onions, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, rosemary and thyme. Cook 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
[3] Add rabbit back into vegetable blend in the pan. Cover with remaining thyme and rosemary. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
[4] Increase heat to high to pull away any extra liquid.
[5] Let pan settle for 4-5 minutes. Serve over rice or potatoes.
[6] Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs/smoked Hungarian paprika.

Nathaniel Clepper from Pearl Kitchen + Bar offers this awesome recipe for cacciatore (aka hunter style stew).

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen: Fried Gator Tail

1 pound alligator tail meat, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot sauce
1 bottle ranch dressing
1 lemon, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 bunch collards
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees. Lightly season gator meat with salt and pepper prior to dredging them in flour. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce into one bowl. Dip the gator meat into the buttermilk mix and dip again in the flour. Place in deep fryer until golden brown. This should only take a couple minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve on whole collard leaves, garnished with lemon and tomato slices. Dip in ranch dressing.

Moss Creek: Lowcountry-style “Field and Stream”

Ingredients (Venison)
About 2 pounds venison back strap
1 cup red or port wine
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fresh minced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper

1 cup olive oil

Combine all venison marinade ingredients and then immerse the meat for at least six hours, preferably overnight. Light grill to medium-high temperature and drain all liquid from the venison. Sprinkle salt on the meat. Char the venison just a few minutes on each side. Keep in mind, internal temperature (the coolest part inside the meat) should never exceed 145 degrees, even after resting, so cook to 135 degrees and then let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Ingredients (Shrimp)
2 pounds American white shrimp, shelled, de-veined
Flour as needed
Olive oil as needed (about 1-2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper, as needed
Clam juice, shrimp stock or chicken stock, as needed

While venison is resting, heat olive oil in a large, open top skillet. Very lightly dust shrimp with flour, discarding all excess flour.
[2] Sauté shrimp on high heat, adding garlic after a minute or two. Continue to stir. Add wine and stir until shrimp is cooked. If too dry, a small amount of broth or stock may be added to adjust at this time. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and chives and stir. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and add butter and stir non-stop until butter is fully incorporated.
[3] Slice venison and present with shrimp poured over the slices.

Moss Creek chef Lenny Giarratano’s unique take on the venerable “surf and turf.” Serves 6 to 8.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen: Honey Mustard Duck Wings

3 pounds of duck wings
1 quart duck stock
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper

Put the wings and broth into a heavy pot with a lid. The broth should barely cover the wings; if not, add water until it does and sprinkle in some salt. Bring to a simmer and cook gently with the lid on for about two to three hours, or until the wings are tender.
[2] While the wings are cooking, make the sauce by taking the rest of the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add more spices as needed.
[3] Once the wings are done, put them in a bowl and toss in the sauce until coated.
[4] Transfer the wings to a baking sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Turn and repeat. Let cool for a couple minutes, then add the remaining sauce and enjoy.

Roadhouse: Smoked Elk Roast

4 pounds elk roast (hindquarter recommended)
1 pound bacon, sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon onion flakes
16 ounces beef broth

Make sure your bacon and elk roast are completely thawed. Fire up your smoker to a temperature of 225 degrees. If you have a charcoal smoker, make sure you allow yourself about 30 minutes for the charcoal to turn a white glowing ashy color.
[2] Fill your water pan with beer or water. If your smoker doesn’t have a built in water pan, you can always add a cast iron pan near the heat source of your smoker so it will boil and add moisture throughout the cooking process.
[3] Inject the elk roast with the beef broth in numerous places throughout the roast using a meat injector. You will most likely only use half of the broth.
[4] Mix your Cajun seasoning, black pepper, salt, minced garlic, and onion flakes all together in a mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil on the seasoning mixture until it becomes a working rub paste. Spoon the rub paste all over the elk roast and rub it in with your hands to evenly spread it around the entire outside of the roast to form a glaze.
[5] Wrap the elk roast completely with bacon and secure it in place with toothpicks. As the bacon cooks, it will melt the fat directly down onto the elk in order to keep it moist and tender.
[6] Place in smoker at 225 degrees and cook until an internal temperature of 150 degrees for a medium-rare result. Your elk roast should take about 4 hours or about an hour per pound.
[7] It is important to understand that elk has a tendency to quickly dry out on the grill. The smoking time will take about 4-5 hours or about an hour for each pound of meat. The easiest way to monitor your elk roast throughout the cooking process is to use a wireless meat thermometer.
[8] Wireless meat thermometers are a grill master’s best friend because it allows you to constantly check the temperature without lifting the lid of your smoker and letting all the heat and smoke out.

Chef tip from Doug Vernon: Any time you are cooking with wild game it is important to remember that these animals don’t have the luxury of leisurely grazing around in a pasture and, as such, don’t build up the marbling and fat content that domestic pork or cattle will possess. This is true for bison, elk, deer, and boar and even in wild poultry to some extent. Due to this low fat content, it takes a few extra precautions in order to avoid drying wild game out over the long cooking process on a smoker.

LOCAL Life Test Kitchen: Pulled Boar Sliders

5-6 pound wild boar shoulder roast
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion with skin on, chopped
2 carrots, roughly cut
1 bunch parsley, chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Dinner rolls

Cut roast into two manageable pieces. Rub roast with olive oil and steak seasoning. Feel free to use more seasoning if desired. Chop the vegetables for your slow cooker. Heat a large sauté pan on the stove and add a little olive oil. Sear both sides of the roast. Place vegetables and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the roast, bourbon, brown sugar and diced tomatoes. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for about 7 hours. Once done, shred the meat. Take pieces of wild boar and your favorite slider toppings and place on a dinner roll. The sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker can be strained and placed in a sauce pan, reducing the liquid by half over a medium-high heat to be used a sauce for the sliders.

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