Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Calling An Audible; Camp Cooking

     Last week I had the pleasure of sharing a camp up north with G.W. for 5 days. I was out with Ginger in pursuit of grouse and woodcock, and G. W. was getting in some quality fishing the last few days of the trout season. Naturally we ate quite well, grilling some woodcock I'd taken for an appetizer with our steaks, and eating an Oktoberfest type meal of kielbasa, and sauerkraut. Burgers, and cold cuts filled us during the day when we'd have rather not been in camp, but out in the sunlight. The last night it was decided that a fish and game feast was in order, so we set out to create a feast with our rewards. I had a brace of grouse to contribute, and G.W. a couple trout, but we'd not considered the possibility of cooking game in advance, so we were restricted to the meager contents of the camp kitchen. It was time to call a culinary audible.

     I decided that the best thing for fresh grouse would be to take advantage of a couple of apples I'd brought along as snacks. Melting a 1/2 stick of butter slowly in a pan I sauteed the salted, and peppered grouse breast over a moderate heat, allowing the butter to begin to brown, When it was time to flip the grouse breast I added the pealed slices of two apples to the pan, and let them brown beside the grouse breast. After a few minutes and a few shakes of the pan I added about a 1/2 cup of white wine and simmered slowly while the white thickened. After about 5 more minutes with a slotted spoon I plated the grouse breast, and apples. Next I added more wine to the pan, raised the heat, and cooked it down until it was a thick syrupy sauce which I poured over the grouse and apples.

     G.W. is no stranger to the kitchen, and has cooked up a few nice dishes in his day. His decision to poach the trout he'd caught came quite easily to him. Like my dish G.W. started by melting butter, and seasoning the fish with salt and pepper. He then proceeded to brown both sides of the fish in the butter before adding about 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of white wine, and 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic to the pan. The trout was then left to poach over a medium-low heat until tender. During the cooking of this dish G.W. flipped the fish several times to insure it was cooked evenly, and even added more wine as it was needed. To say this dish was delicious is an understatement.

     It doesn't take much to create a delectable camp feast if you've prepared and brought the appropriate spices and herbs along. Sometimes however, one must rely on a bit of cook sense.

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