The select few hunters who snag the opportunity of enjoying the High Country on a trip after elk, mule deer or other big game can often double down on their adventure with a little trout fishing action.
Taking advantage of a little down time to check out a nearby trout stream is a great way to enhance an outdoor excursion and supplement the fine fare served up by a hunting camp crew.
The following recipe was published in The Journal of Texas Trophy Hunters as one of the “Beyond the Hunt” columns I worked up at their request to give readers a little extra outdoor coverage:
A hunting camp breakfast can be become one of highlights of a high country excursion when fresh trout fried to golden perfection are including as part of the menu.
Allowing for the fact that all the ingredients and cooking gear has to be packed into the hunting camp, the following is a simple recipe for a tasty treat.
This dish calls for small trout about 10-12 inches long that have been de-headed and gutted, then rinsed in fresh water, before they are seasoned and fried.
The recommended Lamb’s Stone Ground Fish Fry is made in Inez, Texas, and works really well with all kinds of fresh fish, providing a wonderful flavor kick better than just flour and corn meal.
Two trout for each person savoring the fresh-caught breakfast is considered the normal serving, with fresh fried potatoes an excellent side dish.
Chef Ralph’s High Country Breakfast Trout
Season cleaned and rinsed trout with Chef Ralph’s Super Seasoning, both inside and out. Lightly dust seasoned fish with Lamb’s Fish Fry and set aside on a plate. Heat butter or oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add garlic and green onions to the hot butter or oil and sauté for about one minute. Place seasoned and floured trout in the skillet and sauté, turning once after about three to four minutes. Cook about three minutes more until trout is nicely browned on both sides and the flesh is moist and flaky. Squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle a little Chef Ralph’s on the trout right after they are removed from the skillet to be served to your dining companions.
Now, let's get cooking!
Cooking With Cast-iron at Any Speed Makes Delicious Dishes
A well-seasoned Dutch oven that has been properly maintained and put into regular use not only makes cooking stews and such a little easier, the taste factor is also kicked up a notch.
Some of the cast-iron cookware in the Chef Ralph's collection dates back more than 40 years and has been the utensil of choice for numerous memorable meals.
At one hunting camp where all the Winingham boys were spending a week at a back-to-basics ranch near Laredo, a veteran 16-inch Dutch oven spider (that is a large, deep covered skillet with a long handle in addition to the wire bail) was used to create a delightful dish.
Using about five pounds of fresh feral hog loin cut into small steaks, we seasoned the meat with Chef Ralph's Super Seasoning; dusted the steaks with a little flour and quickly browned them on both sides in the spider sitting over a pile of coals.
Two cans of condensed mushroom soup were spread over the browned meat and we turned to our family fire expert to create a proper oven that would finish off the dish.
Frank, the fourth of five brothers, worked his fire magic and was able to create an inferno that must have heated our homemade brick oven to more than 1,200 degrees.
Although we were barely able to withstand the heat long enough to slide the spider into the oven, we got it in and watched as the meat was cooked in less than one minute.
The soup and any liquid in the spider had evaporated and the feral hog meat was flash-cooked into tender, flavorful steaks. None of it went to waste.
The following is a recipe that also utilizes a Dutch oven to enhance the flavor of the dish - relying on more conventional temperatures to cook the stew to a tasty level.
Chef Ralph's Original Calabaza Tex-Mex Stew
Debone chicken, tearing meat into bite-sized pieces (removing skin is optional) and set aside on a plate. After boiling the chicken pieces, reserve 1 cup of the liquid to add with the canned broth. Rinse and cube squash. In large Dutch oven, heat grease/oil over medium heat and add squash, onion and garlic. Saute, stirring often, until vegetables are slightly tender. Add all dry seasonings (it helps to mix seasonings in a small bowl before adding them to the pot) and stir well. Add Rotel, drained corn and tomato sauce. Mix well. Add chicken meat and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer about 20-30 minutes.
Now, let's get cooking!