Wild Harvest Wednesday: Catfish and Venison

Wild game recipes from Sporting Classics’ Jim Casada.

Autumn still life with hunting rifle, pheasant and hare

 

CAJUN CATFISH 

Cajuns are known for their love of good times and good food. The latter tends to be on the spicy side and frequently features fish or game with rice.

This recipe is ideally suited for a large family gathering, a duck camp, or a bunch of famished fishermen at day’s end. It takes some prep work and close attention during the cooking process, but the end result is well worth it. 

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt 
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper 
  • 3 pounds catfish fillets, carefully skinned 
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil  
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped green bell pepper 
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery 
  • ½ cup chopped garlic 
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock 
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • Rice for twelve to fifteen people (cooked separately) 

 

Combine the cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle about two teaspoons of the mixture over the fish and work it into the fillets. Refrigerate the fish until ready to cook. 

Have the onions ready at hand to add to your roux. Combine the oil and flour in a heavy six-quart sauce pan and mix well. Cook the mixture over high heat for five to seven minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is medium brown.

Remove from the heat and stir the onions into your roux. Return to high heat and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the bell pepper, celery, and garlic and mix well. Stir in a cup of the stock and the remaining salt and pepper mixture. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and stir in the tomato sauce. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining stock and lemon juice and cook for fifteen minutes, stirring constantly. Add the fish and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir occasionally with a wood spoon and do it carefully to avoid breaking up the fish fillets. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for an additional twenty minutes.

Remove from the heat and skim any fat from the surface. Serve immediately over steaming rice with French bread for dipping. With a side salad this makes a complete meal for a dozen people.  

 

TEXAS VENISON HASH 

As with the above dish, this offering is extended through the use of rice. Hearty and simple, it is a main dish easily prepared in a hunt camp or over a Coleman stove at midday. 

You’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons bacon drippings 
  • 2 onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 green peppers, finely chopped  
  • 1 pound ground venison 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper 
  • ½ cup uncooked rice 
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (or to taste) 
  • 4 cups tomato juice 

Sauté onions and peppers in a skillet with heated bacon grease. Add ground venison, salt, and pepper, then cook until venison is no longer pink.

Add rice, chili powder, and tomato juice. Place in a casserole and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until rice is tender.

Makes six servings.

For more from Jim Casada, visit jimcasadaoutdoors.com today.