Mar 09 2016

Always Remember the Fun Factor

On the range or in the field, spending some time sending lead down range should be a fun experience.  No matter if you are busting clays or bagging birds, enjoying a fine outdoor experience with some outdoor compadres is just a great way to savor the flavor of putting a smokepole to good use.

The following recipe from my upcoming book "Shootin' and Cookin' with Old Boots and Bacon Grease" offers a little shooting and cooking advice with the fun factor in mind.

Here it is for your enjoyment:

Whether you are attempting to smack some clays or are working on a different culinary creation, good results can often require a flexible style.

Don’t get locked into the practice of doing the same thing in the same way every time unless the result is always perfection – you would be the first if that were to happen.

In the shooting world, simple changes like shifting your foot position so that you are more comfortable when the shotgun goes off or adjusting your hold point so that tracking the target is an easier move are two good examples of a flexible style.

The goal should be to make the clay-breaking process seem effortless.  The shooting game should be fun and satisfying (you get to break things and nobody gets hurt), not a job.

In the culinary world, a flexible style can mean changing a few ingredients to make a tasty treat with a little less effort.

As many camp chefs are aware, the dish called Sheppard’s Pie is normally a creation topped with mashed potatoes.  The sheep herders' who developed the dish knew what they were doing and the original recipe is very tasty.

However, during one of my outdoor excursions I had the misfortune of leaving the kitchen for a morning hunting trip and a self-appointed camp chef fried my entire supply of potatoes for his breakfast.

Since sheppard’s pie was the featured menu item that night, I had to improvise the following recipe.

The result turned out to be quite a hit.

Feel free to add a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the topping mix if you want to add a tasty twist to the dish.

South Texas Style Sheppard’s Pie
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • Chef Ralph’s Super Seasoning
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup freshly chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped celery
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) yellow hominy, drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) beef broth
  • (Topping)
  • 2 packages (8.5 ounces each) corn muffin mix
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green onions, including tops, chopped
  • 1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chef Ralph’s Super Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Heat bacon grease in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Crumble ground venison into pan and season with Chef Ralph’s.  Brown ground meat, breaking it into pieces.  Add serrano, onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, hominy and broth, mixing well.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Mix together topping ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour cornbread mixture evenly over the top of the meat mixture.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Now, let's get cooking!