For Canada Food Day on July 30, chefs in upscale and casual restaurants will highlight Canadian themed menus.
Chef Kevin Kossowan of Edmonton will open his freezer to at least a dozen species of meat and fish all hunted and butchered by him.
Asking him to share a favourite recipe is like asking an intuitive cook to share a recipe measured with a wee bit of this and a cup of that.
Although Kossowan has explored food around the world, his deepest love is for the food from his home province of Alberta.
He is a food blogger and filmmaker and has been involved in the world of food in foraging, growing, gleaning, hunting, fishing, preserving and connecting with local farmers for more than a decade.
His keen interest in good food led him to a career making food-centric films. His company, Story Chaser Productions, is in season two of a cooking series called From the Wild.
To find recipes, videos and stories on food in the Canadian wild, visit his blog at www.kevinkossowan.com.
Hot rock cookery is ancient technology. You don’t need a grill or fry pan if you have a dry flat rock. Heat it slowly to prevent cracking. The heat will sterilize the surface.
Add wild game and cook as you would with a fry pan. Use your favourite fat and don’t worry about clean up. Once your meat is done, kick the rock into the fire to burn off food smells, especially if you are in bear country.
Cutlery and forks are also not necessary. Twigs can be used but Kossowan prefers splitting kindling wood to use as chopsticks. The sharp corners of split wood grip food better than a round twig. Toss them into the fire when finished.
There are a few rules with properly chosen and butchered wild game. Don’t fry cold meat. Warm it up before it hits the pan and don’t cook it past medium-rare.
Do not cook a thick piece on hot heat because it will seize up and crust up. Medium heat is better.
Let it rest a few minutes before eating to allow it to finish cooking, then salt to taste. Appreciate the wild meat for what it is, rather than burying it in spices and other flavours.
This day, Kossowan found an edible invasive species of crayfish in a river in southern Alberta. His current favourites are the under-appreciated white-tailed deer and northern pike.
A chef friend in an upscale London, England, restaurant showed him how to butcher a yearling deer like a lamb. Beautiful bone-in loin chops are a prime cut rarely seen in an Alberta kitchen.
Pike, harvested from big lakes in late winter, assures a firm flesh and clean taste. The fish are in roe at this time.
Remove their slime thoroughly before filleting because it taints the flavour. The roe can be salt cured and served as a caviar.
- Kossowan’s recipe incorporates foraged plants rather than a purchased spice mixture. Use any amount or kind of game meat and then calculate the other ingredients up or down proportionally.
- 5.6 lb. game meat 2.56 kg
- 2.2 lb. pork fat 1 kg
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. salt 40 mL
- 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar52 mL
- 1 1/2 c. steeped Labrador tea (available at herbal stores or online, or use green tea) 375 mL
- 2 1/2 tsp. garlic 12 mL
- 1/3 c. wild onion 75 mL
- 3 1/2 tsp. EACH onion powder, dried savoury, rosemary, juniper berries 17 mL
- 2 tbsp. black pepper 30 mL
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds 5 mL
- Cube the meat.
- Grind the dry spices and toss with cubed meat. Place the meat, tea and meat grinder blades in the freezer.
- It is important to have all ingredients and tools well chilled. This makes it easier to work with the meat and is more sanitary.
- Prepare the garlic and wild onion by chopping finely and adding to the cold tea mixture.
- Remove the meat and grinder blades from the freezer and grind the meat mixture. Add the tea, then knead for about two minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. To taste, cook a small amount of the meat mixture. Don’t taste raw meat. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Extrude the meat into sausage casing and refrigerate or freeze.