This is part of a series exploring the cultural, technological and social trends that are informing the way we dine and select what we eat. Read the rest in the series here.
With wild game being served again in Canadian restaurants for the first time in decades, chefs will start to look at ways to use every inch of these prized proteins. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the dishes they might consider.
Home cooks can also have fun working with some of these ingredients provided they a) have access to extremely fresh squirrel meat or moose lungs and b) are practised in the fine art of beaver-tail skinning. Provided those aren’t deal breakers, here are a few ways chefs and home cooks alike might be working with wild offal this year.
Snow goose: Buffalo goose tongues
Birds have tongues, too, and these tasty little nuggets of fat crisp up beautifully in the fryer. Dressed with a little hot sauce and accompanied with blue cheese dip, they bring a touch of the exotic to game day.
Deer: Charcoal grilled deer heart
A prized delicacy for any hunter, deer heart is best when simply seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled over hot coals. A bit of the fat from around the kidneys can be added to add a bit of richness. Here, Toronto chef Marc Thuet, centre, prepares a dish with whitetail deer.
Squirrel: Squirrel sushi
Admittedly, there’s not a lot of offal to be found in a squirrel, but Martin Picard, owner of Quebec restaurants Au Pied de Cochon and Cabane au Sucre, serves the flesh in classic Japanese style.
Beaver: Stewed beaver tail
Not the deep-fried dough version, but the real deal. Before cooking, the dark, scaly tail meat should be removed with a blowtorch to reveal the rich, white meat hidden beneath.
Pheasant: Gizzard confit
A prized giblet, the gizzard is a muscly organ birds use to grind seeds. Because it’s so tough it needs to be cooked gently, so a long, warm confit bath works wonders.
Moose: Moose lights stew
There’s a lot of lungs in a moose, so it would be a shame to let them go to waste. Stewed down to a dark reduction in a wine and butter rich broth, lights are a rare treat.
Wild Boar: Brawn
Who doesn’t love a good jellied wild boar’s head? Chef Martin Picard knows there’s plenty of good meat in a pig’s head. To make a boar’s head brawn, cook it slowly in a rich, herbaceous broth, then set it in an aspic. It’s an elegant way to make the most of it. Just don’t call it headcheese.
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