Friday, February 21, 2014

Some props for Hank Shaw

Wild game at the table is an art, something requiring equal doses of creativity, knowledge and touch. Too much or too little of any of these will leave you hungry and headed for Mexican take-out. Most of you will agree, however, that when you get it right, wild game cannot be surpassed.

I've been a closet fan of Hank Shaw's for several years. If you  haven't heard of him, visit his Hunter Angler Gardener Cook website. He does some amazing things with wild game and does it in a way that's not the least bit intimidating to a non-professional chef. Two dishes I've enjoyed more than once are his Belgian venison medallions and poached dove with roasted peppers. The wife and kids are at the in-laws tonight which is usually an occasion to dive into the game stash uninhibited. Bad news if you're a venison backstrap but bacchanalia if you're a taste bud.

Belgian venison

I had a few thin strips of backstrap so rather than cut them into medallions I left them whole and draped them across a scruffy pile of garlic mashed potatoes. If the presentation offends you, get over it. I did.

I'll confess that I've taken liberties from time to time with his work, substituting here and there for stuff I had at hand. Some of the items he uses may be difficult to come by depending on where you live but if you don't get too funky there's no worry. I've gained a minor education in all kinds of vegetables, salts, oils, nuts and such, things that carry over into all types of cuisine. And I've learned what's caused some of my game dishes to fail (it's not always over-cooking).

All in all it's a great place to spend some time. If you like what you see, pick up one of his books and you'll have a field day in the kitchen. Many thanks, Hank.


  1. Jesse Griffith's "Afield" is a great read as well. And while a more apt title might have been "Things to hunt and fish in Texas" it is none the less a great read that already has me salivating about next season's doves.

  2. Hank Shaw is great! I wish I had half of his knowledge and energy for wild game.

  3. Hank's a pretty cool guy in person, too. Funny dude.