Christmas is such a special time of year. A time when family and friends get together and enjoy each other’s company. A time when food and drink are flowing. A time when memories of times gone by are revisited and a time when we remember our loved ones that we have lost. What better time to enjoy and share our harvest with stories of the hunt and rewards of our harvests?
This year we are lucky enough to have three whitetail deer to choose from. When we processed Rock’s deer (my son) that he harvested early with his bow, I made sure to get two beautiful racks from the backstaps. A task that my son and his friend Derek may never help me with again. And so, begins some of the Christmas chiding and cheer. But you know, there really isn’t anything much better than a grass-fed, pasture whitetail, a well-placed arrow, and a quick harvest. That meat is truly something to behold, especially since we are in the pre-rut season. The Whitetail crown for this meal will come from his deer. The other two bucks were harvested during the rut…still good shots and quick harvests, mind you, just ….well…they were in the rut. They taste different, not bad, just different.
Being Norwegian I also grew up with many traditional Norwegian Christmas foods, candies and cookies. I am not that great of a baker, mainly because I really don’t enjoy measuring things. And baking sometimes you need to be a bit more precise. But I really do enjoy their idea of Lingonberry being an accompaniment to wild game. There is something about the tart/sweet flavor and the texture that really will bring a dish to life. It is especially great with Swedish meatballs, something about the creamy sauce, the flavor of the game and the lingonberries that really stands out. Swedish meatballs are another great option for a wild game Christmas. The lingonberry sauce not only tastes delicious, but the stunning red color of the berries make the rack of Whitetail look festive for this holiday meal.
My antelope also went down quick, which is key to the flavor and texture of wild game meat. I have plenty of burger in my freezer so I decided that chorizo would be a good option for the trim portion of the antelope breakdown. The chorizo has just the right amount of bite and is so flavorful and good. Making a cornbread dressing with it only made sense.
You really do have to have potatoes included for a meal like this. I chose to make gruyere Yukon gold potato stacks with honey roasted multi color carrots to make this Christmas meal complete. Both of these sides are so easy and really compliment the entire meal.
If you are lucky enough to have wild game for your Christmas meal, and you are with some friends or family to celebrate the holiday. You are truly blessed. Please enjoy these recipes and have a very Merry Christmas.
Margie Nelson (Wyld Gourmet)