Story last updated at 12/18/2013 - 5:14 pm
Normally when someone says it’s game night, I think Parcheesi, Monopoly or Yahtzee. I don’t really think caribou or venison. This is the difference between my husband and me. He’s the true Alaskan man and I’m the city girl. I see no need to go kill a defenseless animal just to eat. We can purchase what we would like, organic or not, and be perfectly fine. He enjoys bringing home the bacon, so to speak.
While I’m not a big fan of hunting, I respect it and appreciate that it is a way of life in the last frontier.
My likes and dislikes are irrelevant. Many Alaskans hunt out of necessity and many hunt for the enjoyment of being in the outdoors and the act of hunting itself. Whatever the reason, once an animal is killed then there is a decision to be made. What to do with it?
Last fall Grant had a very successful hunt in Adak in the Aleutian Islands. This fall he did equally as well hunting deer. This means I now have a freezer full of game. Most of my friends are envious, I’m just perplexed. Grant assures me it will be delicious. I try to think positive.
After cooking just about anything except the game, I finally had to concede that I just didn’t want to. I don’t really know how. Being the scrappy little person that I am, I decided I would not give up learning how to cook something just because it was unfamiliar. Grant had several suggestions on what he liked and how to prepare it, but he’s also the fella who almost set my kitchen on fire boiling water. I needed advice from a more reliable resource. I Googled it. There are lots of great recipes for venison and other game. After reading for days, I decided that I knew exactly what to do.
When cooking something new, I always try to keep it as simple as possible. This was no exception. I looked in the freezer packed with assorted packages of game and went for what looked relatively familiar, sausages. I love Italian sausages and these looked pretty much exactly like them except they were more brown in color. Grant explained that the lighter ones were venison and the darker ones were caribou.
I made them the same way I make Italian sausages with peppers and onions. Not knowing how long to cook them, I felt this was a safe bet. I learned the cooking technique from watching Rachael Ray on Food Network. Put the sausages in a large, deep skillet. Add about ½-1 inch of water and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the water. Bring to a simmer and let all the water cook out and then the oil remains to brown the sausages. Ingenious! Grant invited a couple of his hunting friends over to test my cooking capabilities and I was given the hunter stamp of approval. I was feeling pretty proud.
This week I present a recipe that wasn’t hard to make, and is definitely locally sourced: Venison & Caribou Sausages with Peppers. I have to confess that I’m still not a game lover, but in an effort to further my quest of becoming a Real Alaskan Girl, I will learn to cook venison, caribou and I hear tale we have some moose in the freezer as well. I look forward to learning more recipes and sharing them with you.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
CARIBOU SAUSAGES WITH PEPPERS
6-8 sausage links (similar to Italian sausages)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bell pepper, sliced (any color is fine)
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Place sausages in large skillet and add ½-1 inch water. Drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil. Bring to medium high heat and cover. Reduce to roiling simmer. Uncover after about 10 minutes. Cook until water is completely evaporated. Turn sausages until they are browned on all sides. Add peppers and onions and cook until softened and translucent. Add garlic and stir well. Cook additional 3-5 minutes. Serve with garlic bread and large green salad.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@