Bear Carnitas

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Yes, you read that correctly. My son was gifted with some bear meat, so I volunteered to cook it for him (none of us had tried it). My mind usually goes to Mexican when I think of cooking meat and I was really leaning toward carne asada or colorado but I wanted to be able to taste the meat. So, I settled on this simple already-loved recipe.

Here’s the link (for those who do not know, if I post a recipe, I only post the ingredients. You have to visit the link to read their instructions).

http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/michoacan-style-pork-carnitas/

  • 18 pounds bone-in pork shoulder (skin-on picnic shoulder is a good choice, too), cut into 2-pound chunks
  • 1/2cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2cup salt
  • About 4 gallons lard or vegetable oil
  • If using vegetable oil: 1pound piece of slab bacon, cut it into 6 or 8 pieces

First: I did not have 18 pounds of bear meat. I had maybe two. So, all quantities were adjusted accordingly (just sprinkled with salt). Second: I used lemon juice because that’s what I had. I also cooked it in beef fat (with about a cup of bacon grease) because I just rendered a bunch a few months ago. Third: I used my crock pot on high for the first step of cooking. For the final step, I got lazy and just tossed the meat under the broiler to crisp up.

I let the meat cook in the crock pot for about 5 hours, until the meat broke apart with a little force. I drained it on paper towels, transferred it to an old pie pan and threw it under the broiler for a few minutes.

I was surprised by the flavor! Hank Shaw described bear’s flavor as beefy pork or porky beef and he was right! I love it! I did not add any other seasoning to this meat and it’s perfect. So, If I could eat all of this (it’s going home with my son after he gets off work), it would be in a bowl with grated cheese, salsa, diced onion, cilantro (see? Fruit AND vegetables), and sour cream.

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Winter Three-Grain Soup

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/winter-three-grain-soup

3 medium leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and chopped
    2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon thyme
    Fine sea salt
    One 14-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed, juices reserved
    6 cups cold water
    1 head of garlic, separated into peeled cloves
    1/3 cup brown rice
    1/3 cup dark green Puy lentils
    1/3 cup wheat berries
    Freshly ground pepper

Bean & Swiss Chard Soup

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bean-and-Swiss-Chard-Soup-15608

Ingredients
    1/2 pound (225 g) Swiss chard or kale, trimmed
    1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional to taste
    2 flat anchovy fillets
    1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or dried
    1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
    2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    1 cup (225 g) cooked small white beans or drained and rinsed canned beans
    4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock [or Garlic Broth for a meatless soup]
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup (60 g) small shell macaroni
    freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Canned Sardine Fritters – Fritelle Sarde

Since my seafood allergy disappeared, I’ve been stocking up on canned fish again.  I never really thought of cooking with any of it.  lol

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/canned-sardine-fritters-fritelle-sarde-recipe.html

Ingredients

2 cans good-quality oil-packed sardines, chopped
2 large eggs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped plus extra, for garnish
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pepperonchini
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated caciocavallo cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, to fill a deep pot no more than halfway
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon halves

Salt Cod with Tomatoes and Capers – Baccalà alla Vesuviana

I’ve never even seen salt cod (probably because I’m in central California) but I’m sure it’s out there and here’s a tasty looking dish that just happens to be low carb, too!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salt-Cod-with-Tomatoes-and-Capers-em-Baccala-alla-Vesuviana-em-350700

Ingredients
    2 pounds center-cut skinless boneless salt cod (baccalà), rinsed well
    2 tablespoons salt-packed capers*
    7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
    4 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
    1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice
    1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
    1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh mint, coarsely chopped

Venison Goulash- Ozpörkölt

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Venison-Goulash

2 lbs. leg of venison, cut into 2″ chunks
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1⁄4 lb. smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1⁄2 tbsp. hot paprika, preferably Hungarian
1⁄4 tsp. dried ground thyme
1⁄4 tsp. dry mustard
4 whole allspice
4 juniper berries
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small tomato, cored and chopped
1⁄2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 cup red wine, preferably merlot
Salt
6 medium yukon gold potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled; cut lengthwise into wedges
1⁄4 cup butter, cubed
2 tsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
6–8 slices crusty white bread

Split Pea and Green Pea Soup with Fresh Dill

This is a rarity for me: a Vegan recipe!  I know, don’t faint.  🙂

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Split-Pea-and-Green-Pea-Soup-with-Fresh-Dill-236775

Ingredients

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup green split peas, rinsed
    5 3/4 cups vegetable broth, divided

    1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
    5 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided

Bread and Cheese “Meatballs”

Wow!  Meatballs without the meat and these actually sound (and look) good!

http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2013/06/bread-and-cheese-meatballs/

Ingredients:

Sauce:
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, Peeled and Chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Minced

1 (26 Ounce Can Good Quality Chopped Tomatoes

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

Sea Salt and Pepper

Red Hot Pepper Flakes (optional)


Bread And Cheese Balls:
8.5 Ounces Grated Hard Cheese (see note above)

7 Ounces Stale Bread, Crusts Removed

1 Garlic Clove, Peeled

5 Large Eggs

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves

Pinch of Cracked Black Pepper

To Serve:
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese

Beer-Battered Smelts

I grew up eating smelts.  They USED TO BE the cheap fish.  The last time I saw a package of them, my jaw hit the floor.  And how did we eat them?  We just dredged them in seasoned flour and fried them until crispy (then dipped them in Ranch).  Well, here’s a different method for ya’!

http://www.jsonline.com/features/recipes/250224531.html

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
12 ounces beer, Pilsener style or one lighter in flavor
1 pound smelt (24 to 32 fish), cleaned if available
½ cup flour, for dusting fish
Lemon wedges and tartar sauce for serving

Homemade Corned Beef

I can’t believe I didn’t post about this!  I made homemade corned beef last year, leaving out the sugar and the pink salt, and it was fantastic!  I thought, well, I could make this, then can it so I know exactly where it came from and what was in it.  I haven’t gotten around to canning this because it usually doesn’t last that long!

Anyway, if you are interested (I wanted to see if I could and I did), here is how I did it:

http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/home_made_corned_beef.html

And here is how to can it (ever since I canned that chicken, I prefer raw canning meats):

http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/2011/05/canning-corned-beef-brisket.html

There you go!  Give it a shot (even if you only do one).  It really wasn’t as difficult as my brain said it would be!