Succulent game meat recipes

Oct 14, 2009 at 12:31 p.m. ET

Colder weather and the need for substantial meals make fall and winter opportune seasons to experiment with different meats. Game meats like venison, boar, buffalo, elk, and rabbit are especially flavorful and can be braised, broiled, stewed and even grilled to make hearty fall and winter meals. Here are a few cooking tips for game meats and three game meat recipes to warm your belly.

Rabbit Stew

Game is not gamey

Despite the notion that game meats have a very "gamey" or intense flavor, many game meats -- farmed game meats, for example -- are milder yet still distinct in flavor.

Venison is fairly mild in taste while buffalo has a beefy, sweet flavor. Wild boar is more flavorful than pork. Elk has a mild sweet taste, and rabbit has a light subtle flavor. Give these meats another try, if you've had a bad game experience and enjoy the rich flavors they can bring to your table.

Game is leaner than commercial meat

The leaner flesh of game requires tenderizing or slower, longer cooking times. Stewing or braising yields succulent, juicy results. Game meats can quickly overcook, particularly on the grill or under the broiler and should be carefully watched to keep doneness at medium rare.

Hunt or seek

People who hunt game either butcher their own meats or have a local butcher do the honor. If you don't hunt or know someone who does, you can find game meats at some supermarkets, local grocers or butchers. You may even be able to find it at the farmers market (be sure the game meats are kept at a very cold temperature). Game can also be ordered online from game meat companies; do a search for more information.

Next page: Game recipes

Delicious game meat recipes

Buffalo Jalapeno Poppers

Makes 10 servings

1 pound buffalo steaks, cubed
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon steak seasoning, or to taste
1 (16-ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup jalapeno pepper slices
10 slices bacon, cut in half
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

1. Toss buffalo, Italian seasoning, steak seasoning and salad dressing in a large bowl. Cover and let marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Heat a grill pan or grill over medium heat. Remove meat from marinade and discard marinade. Top each piece of meat with a jalapeno slice and then wrap each piece in bacon. Secure meat with a toothpick and place on hot grill.

3. Grill meat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to cook each side. Serve with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce (recipe below).

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Makes 10 servings

1/4 pound blue cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce, to taste

In a bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Cheddar Stuffed Venison Burgers

Makes 8 servings

2 pounds ground venison
2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Garnishes: mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, or onion

1. Heat a grill pan or grill over medium heat.

2. Season meat with salt and pepper and form meat into 8 balls. Make a small dent in each ball and fill with cheese. Cover cheese with meat to form 8 patties.

3. Place burgers on grill and cook 2 to 4 minutes per side or until medium rare (or desired degree of doneness). Place patties on burger buns and top with desired garnishes.

Rabbit Stew

Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cubed
2 pounds rabbit, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 cups vegetable stock
1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
8 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 onion, diced
1 cup fresh green peas
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Saute bacon in a pot until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Cook rabbit in pot with bacon fat until it is evenly browned. Add flour, tossing to coat. Stir in broth and let simmer for 1 hour or until rabbit becomes tender.

3. Add tomatoes, carrots, celery, sugar, and onion and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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