“The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover’s kiss.”

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Cold winter days are spent standing in the puget sound, casting for coastal sea run cutthroat trout or chest deep in Oregon rivers swinging spey for wild Steelhead. Growing up a Pacific Northwest Girl, I always assumed outdoor activities happened rain or shine. Fishing in these harsh conditions yield smaller takes and hours of solitude in freezing temps. Something I’ve become quite fond of.

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Given the lack of sunshine and several birds from my fall hunts still in the freezer, I was yearning for something hot and smoky to warm me up after hours spent in damp rivers and salt water.

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My favorite chili has always been the ones without beans. By combining fresh ground pheasant with chipotle, you end up with an earthy-sweet heat that is unforgettable. I prefer using a red ale for this because of it’s flavor, but a porter would also be a fine substitute. Serve this with fresh cornbread and all your favorite fixings.

Chipotle Pheasant Chili // Serves 8
Inspired by Michael Symon

2 tablespoons good quality oil
3 pounds ground pheasant or chicken
Coarse ground sea salt
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bottles of Red Ale, IPA, or Porter
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cans chipotles in adobo, pureed with sauce
1 habanero chile
Bunch of Cilantro, Avocado, and Sour Cream (to garnish)
Cornbread

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil and begin browning the meat. Season with salt and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Return the Dutch oven to the heat, add onion, garlic, bell peppers, and another pinch of salt. Cook until aromatic, but not caramelized, 3-5 minutes. Add the ancho chile, cumin, and paprika and cook 30 more seconds. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Deglaze the pot with beer, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Let simmer until reduced by one-third. Return the meat to the pot along with the tomatoes, chipotles and habanero, stirring to incorporate. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches a thick consistency. Garnish with fresh avocado and cilantro, serve with cornbread. Enjoy!

xo,

“Have some more sloppy joes. I made them extra sloppy just for yous” ~Lunch Lady, Billy Madison

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Red ale in sloppy joes is magic. The idea was one that came to me on a whim only just this afternoon during my drive to the post office to submit my application for the Master Hunter program with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

With a freezer full of venison from Oregon’s fall hunt and a passion to create recipes that bring out the best flavor in wild game, this recipe is easily adaptable to any wild game or red meat and perfect for weekend bowl game parties. If you’re looking for a team to cheer on, those Seattle SEAHAWKS are pretty killer!

Red Ale Venison Sloppy Joes // makes 12 sandwiches

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 lbs venison – shoulder or shank, cut into 1-inch cube
Coarse sea salt
2 cups sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle red ale (I used Silver City Red Ale)
2 tablespoons coarse ground Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 (24-ounce) can diced San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
12 soft buns

In a large Dutch oven medium-high heat, add the olive oil allowing it to get hot. Working in batches, add the venison and brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside, repeating until all the meat is browned.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt, and cook about 6 minutes. Add the ancho chile powder, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, and coffee and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring about 2 more minutes.

Add the red ale and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Once reduced by half, add the Dijon, Sriracha, and honey and simmer about 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer.

Return the meat to the pot and add the oregano and simmer 1 hour. Serve over fresh buns and enjoy!

xo,

“Good wild rabbit is fresh and succulent…it needs onions, wine, and thyme.”
Jane Grigson, Good Things

Simple, peasant fare.

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I lived in Sunnyhill between 2009 and 2012. For me it has always been a place lit with possibility. I saw the sun rise as we worked the land. I watched the sky fall down on hot July evenings filled with laughter and good friends. During the time I lived there, I thought in the way of the invincible young, “I will never live anywhere else.” But I do, and that is why I find myself on the rivers fishing, in the mountains hunting, and in the hills foraging.

What started in the region of Languedoc as a modern day pot of beans and meat, cassoulet is easily considered one of the top 10 most prescriptive dishes around. Resurrected four times already in my home with different variations of vegetables to meat and broth, I’ve finally settled on a delicate balance of ground pork, rabbit, and lamb shank anchored by winter roots and good wine. The kind of comfort food we all craved when the ingredients grew robust in the garden or were the result of a late summer harvest.

Cassoulet of Pork Sausage, Lamb Shank, & Rabbit // serves 6-8
Inspired by Mark Bittman

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 whole rabbit, quartered
1 lamb shank, skin removed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and thinly slide
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Sea salt
Coarse ground pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes, with juices
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4 cups cooked white beans, rinsed
2 cups red wine
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 bouquet garnis

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, add the sausage, and cook until brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain excess fat. Heat the olive oil, add meat, and cook, turning as needed, until deeply browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pain and drain excess fat.

Bring the dutch oven to medium heat and add garlic, leeks, and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and their liquid, the reserved meat, and herbs and bring to a boil. Add the beans; bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Retrieve the meat from the pot, and remove bones and skin. Chop into large chunks and return to the pot with the cayenne. Cook another 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

xo,