Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pheasant Chili Verde

As much as I enjoy hunting for the obvious reasons of spending long hours submerged in my love of nature or the challenge of shooting a Blue Grouse that is traveling off the nose of a staunch Pointer at speeds that are rapidly approaching Mach 1.  Possibly the greatest benefit of hunting is self sustainability.  There is truly something truly special; an almost religious experience when preparing a meal from meat that you personally procured while fulfilling that inherited urge to hunt.  While writing this post I was reminded of a story from the Bible that seemed appropriate.  (forgive me as I paraphrase) The disciple Peter had went to the roof to pray when he suddenly became hungry and wished for something to eat.  He fell into a trance and heaven opened in front of him, there before him was a large number of four footed animals and birds of the air.  When suddenly a voice told him "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." (Acts 10:13) I could go on but perhaps that's a post for another time. 

I have always loved to cook and I enjoy it even more when the ingredients are from animals that I have killed or vegetables from my small garden.  Ever since I started this blog I wanted to do a recipe post.  So without further adieu here is one of my favorite recipes for pheasant.

Pheasant Chili Verde
1.5 pounds tomatillos
5 garlic cloves, not peeled
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped (I used 5 because I like a bit of spice)
2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles
1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
3.5 pounds of pheasant cut into 1" cubes
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano
2.5 cups chicken stock
Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse well.  Once they are rinsed take a sharp knife and cut them in half and place them flat side down on a foil lined baking sheet  along with 2 chilis and 5 unpeeled cloves of garlic.  Place in oven and broil until the skins of the tomatillos and chilis are blackened. (roughly 8-10 mins) Remove from broiler and let cool.


Take the pheasant and cut the meat into  1" pieces and put in a bowl with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  I like to add a bit of adobo seasoning to the meat as well.  Heat a large cast iron skillet with a bit of olive oil and fry the pheasant pieces until golden brown remove from skillet and then set aside.  With the skillet still hot take the chopped onion and garlic and fry in the remaining oil until soft or roughly 5 minutes. Remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and place them in a crock pot along with the pheasant pieces.


Toss the cooled tomatillos and garlic (skin on) into a blender.  Take the chilis and remove the skin and seeds and add to the blender along with the cilantro and jalapenos.  Turn on blender and mix all of the ingredients until they finely chopped and mixed.

Pour the green chili sauce over the meat and onions and add the oregano and chicken stock and stir well mixing all of the ingredients in the crock pot.  Heat on low for 3 hours and serve with warm tortillas or Spanish rice.


I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe.  Feel free to take and add to it as you see fit.  I have a tendency to like spicy food and this particular recipe reflects that.  You can easily reduce the spice by removing the chilis or reducing the number of jalapenos.  Also if you try the recipe please leave comments as to what you liked and what you disliked. 



Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Year In Review

     Towards the end of every year I like to reflect on the past season and recall the good days and the not so good days. A journal is certainly a good tool to look back at the time we spend in the field. A journal is particularly good at reminding us of the little facts that slip with away with time. Details like the numbers of flushes in a season, or the number of points by a young dog, and especially informative specifics like what type of flies you were using on that 40 plus fish day on the river last spring. Another way to help us relive those days on the water and in the woods is photography. I am personally especially fond of this method of commemorating time spent out of doors. I like to be able to look back through my photos and remember exactly how beautiful that grouse was in my hand with the peaks and valley's of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. Or simply to remind myself of how much different a shade of red that one quail was compared to the others that I artistically laid out on the fence post. Photos are especially important to the fly fisherman as the majority of them release their catch and rarely bring a fish home for the table. First and foremost a photo is nice for a fisherman because it is PROOF, but in my mind its more than that. Most fisherman want to be able to release the fish as quickly as they can and with the least amount of stress placed upon the fish. This rush to get our quarry back into the water doesn't leave us with a lot of time to admire the creature we have struggled so hard to acquire. Photography allows us to marvel at the beauty of the fish long after its been released. So now that 2013 has relinquished it's moment in the spotlight to the new year, I challenge you to document your time spent in the woods or on the water. Whether it is with a journal, a camera, or both makes no difference. But I assure you the investment will be well worth your time.  Below are a few highlights from my season.  I hope you enjoy my memories as much as I enjoyed making them.

A beautiful Greenback Cutthroat caught in a special mountain creek.  The pool this fish came out of was roughly around 10,500 feet in elevation and had some of the most spectacular views one could possibly imagine.

Me with the above fish.  It rained on me heavily that day but the fishing was too good to call it a day. 

The last day of a Blue Grouse hunt with a couple new friends.  We camped for 4 days in the mountains on this trip.  It rained on us every single day we were there. 

This was the results of my the best day of the year.  Not in sheer numbers of birds shot but of the quality of the day.  I took one bird over each my dogs that day and as you can see the view isn't to shabby either.

Kolt taking time to enjoy the view.

This year Hunter accompanied me out to the local preserve and he was able to take his first bird over a pointing dog.  I hope for many more days just like this one.

Scaled Quail are a fun and challenging bird to hunt.  It took me two years to finally shoot one over one of my dogs. (note the red on the bird on the right)

This might be one of my favorite images of the year.  It was incredibly windy that day and the wind was blowing the birds feathers way up and in mind ruined the image.  I cropped the blowing feathers out and ended up with this.

My good friend Jesse and I had the pleasure of fishing with Gary Thompson this year on his drift boat on both the North Platte in Wyoming and the famed Bighorn in Montana.  Jesse is hooked up in this photo with the biggest fish of the trip.  (He's smiling because I am yelling at him not to lose the fish!)

Probably my best fish of the year. Caught on the North Platte River in Wyoming on a squirrel tail leech.

Jesse releasing a beautiful rainbow caught on the Bighorn.


Again I hope you enjoyed my memories of the 2013 season and I hope that you will take the time to record your time afield so that you too can look back and enjoy them many years after the fact.