Fall is perhaps my favorite season of the year. The reason for my fondness is that I get to combine three of my favorite pastimes — gardening, hunting and cooking.
The past couple of months have been especially satisfying. I finished my gardening, which started last March when tomato, kale and pepper seeds were planted indoors; canned more than a combined 200 quarts and pints (tomatoes, tomato juice, dill and sweet pickles, etc.); shared approximately 700 pounds of vegetables with the local food shelf; and hunted in western North Dakota and southwestern Nebraska. And I cooked.
Most recently, I combined all three pastimes. I cooked some pheasant in a barbecue sauce that contained vegetables that came from my garden.
The following recipe has been one of my favorites over the years. I’ve taken it on hunting and ice-fishing trips as well as serving it at small get-togethers with friends.
And least I forget, it goes great with Therese’s homemade bread!
6 pheasant legs and thighs
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 cayenne pepper, cut up (or as many hot peppers as you like)
Poach pheasant legs and thighs. Remove meat. Once cool, remove meat from bones. Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Add pheasant and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until mixture thickens and carmelizes. Serve on buns or bread.
P.S. I’ve also substituted duck and grouse for the pheasant, using breast meat that I’d poached and shredded.