Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game by Jesse Griffiths

This excellent cookbook is broken into 10 chapters:

Dove & Snipe
Creek Fishing
Surf Fishing
Flounder and Crab
Feral Hog
Sausage and Charcuterie
Deer and Turkey
Duck and Geese
Rabbit and Squirrel
The Spring Run

The author, Jesse Grittihs, is a Texas based chef (and his the recipes reflect this) who is interested in locally sourced ingredients and nose to tail eating. The book contains over 300 color photos, 175 of which are step by step instructions. I found the step by step butchering photos to be some of the better instructions that I have seen, especially in cookbooks. If you are still intimidated by the prospect of gutting and butchering a deer or hog, or breaking down a game bird, this book is pretty much as good as any other set of instructions you will find on the subject.

These days, I find myself skeptical of pretty much any new "wild game" cookbook. I have found that the best cookbooks for wild game are regular old cook books with adjustments and compensations made in the kitchen for game meats. This book is a happy marriage between the two as it is full of traditional meat recipes with minor adjustments for wild game. A cookbook grabs my attention when I flip through it and start getting ideas, yet I don't see a list of incredibly hard to find ingredients or 9 hours of prep time. These recipes are simple and use easy to find, whole ingredients.

As I have moved well past the days of being overly interested in venison dishes that involve using ground meat, I am always on the look out for whole cuts and this book delivers. The first recipe that I have bookmarked is Venison Neck Osso Buco.

Osso means "hole" and Buco means "bone". Literally, "meat on the bone with a hole in it." I have steadily become an increasing fan of venison on the bone and I will be trying this very soon sI presently have 5 whole necks in my freezer for purposes such as this.

4 cuts of venison neck, about 3-4 inches or substitue venison or wild boar shanks
(see, I am already interested because I can even substitue entirely different cuts of meat and one of them in my favorite, shanks)

1 cup flour
4 tbls Olive Oil
2 large onions
4 carrots
1 celery stalk
6 fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
1 quart venison stock, chicken stock or water
zest of 1 lemon
1/s cup fresh parsley
6 to 10 garlic cloves

As you can see, fairly simple ingredient list. There is also a recipe for Squirrel cooked over a campfire. Dig it.

Page 220 has the bulk of my attention as we are heading into the time of year where ducks start getting cooked on a regular basis. This page is dedicated to Confit, something that I have been interested in for awhile. This is a very ancient means of preservation where meat is cured in salt and then stored and/or cooked in fat. If you salt cure a goose leg, for example, you can store it in a jar of its on fat for quite some time. You can also cook the goose leg in that same fat. Even after you cook the meat, you can reuse the confit to add flavor to soup or stock for another dish. -very cool, very simple and very out of practice.

Good book.
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.