WBEZ | harvard sportsman's club http://www.wbez.org/tags/harvard-sportsmans-club Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Muskrat. The other fish meat. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-02/muskrat-other-fish-meat-105757 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509889864/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamemuskratcacciatore.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Muskrat cacciatore at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p><span style="text-align: start;">While<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/25/172869585/horsemeat-found-in-ikeas-meatballs"> horse was just found</a> in IKEA&#39;s Swedish meatballs, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-seafood-shoppers-duped-mislabeled-fish-105671">fish fraud runs (swims?) rampant,</a> there&#39;s nothing but truth in advertising at the Wild Game Dinner at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-02-27/dinner-where-wild-things-are-96788">Harvard Sportsman&#39;s Club</a>. This year, the 11th annual meat-up in Harvard, Illinois (34 miles northwest of Navy Pier, in bucolic McHenry County) saw hunters add muskrat cacciatore, squirrel in cream sauce, and catfish balls to the menu. Muskrat was the real prize.</span></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509382808/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamedinnersign.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">The muskrat, also known as marsh rabbit, actually tasted a little fishy. So much so that Kevin, the club member who cooked them in the style of the classic Italian hunter&#39;s stew, almost threw it all out. &quot;They&#39;re supposed to taste like rabbit or squirrel,&quot; he said. The flavor might have been from diet or handling, he added.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509886770/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gameribchili.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Venison ribs in buffalo chili at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Though this shouldn&#39;t have come as a total surprise. Muskrat has historically been <a href="http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=23328">allowed by the Catholic Church</a> during Lent, the reasoning being that the rats, as they&#39;re called, live in water. We&#39;ve missed the&nbsp;<a href="http://micuisine.com/lunapiercook/?p=3525">seasonal muskrat dinners</a>&nbsp;in Southeastern Michigan, but there&#39;s still one coming up in Ontario.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509416134/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamebaconvenison.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Bacon wrapped venison loin at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Or catch your own. I<span style="text-align: center;">t&#39;s&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-29/morning-drive-podcast-6-29-11-remembering-lura-lynn-ryan-evaluating-h" style="text-align: center;">legal to trap muskrat in Illinois</a>, as&nbsp;WBEZ&#39;s own Alex Keefe reported in&nbsp;2011. Plus, the demand for muskrat fur in Asia has driven the price of <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/asian-buyers-want-muskrat-furs-michigan-trappers-cashing">pelts up to $10 each</a>. The &quot;poor man&#39;s mink&quot; has sold for as little as <a href="http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1424">$3 each, if at all</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509908724/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamebowrange.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Bow range at the Harvard Sportsman's Club in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Before you set out, you may want to <a href="http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/muskratlovely/film.html">watch <em>Muskrat Lovely</em></a>, a documentary film set in the Chesapeake Bay community of Golden Hill, Maryland&nbsp;that&nbsp;attempts to answer &quot;how a beauty pageant and a muskrat skinning contest came to co-exist.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8509872922/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamesquirrelcream.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Squirrel in cream sauce at at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">So the muskrat tasted fishy this time, but the squirrel tasted squirrely. That is to say, like rabbit or duck. Served in a light cream sauce, it you could actually taste the meat itself.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8508759697/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamecatfishballs.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Catfish balls at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Whereas the catfish balls, while tasty, were hidden in breading. But they could give <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/25/172882674/sandwich-monday-fish-mcbites">Fish McBites a run (swim?)</a> for the money. Plus they&#39;re a wild, local, sustainable, organic option.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8508774401/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gamepocketknife.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Hunter's pocket knife as dinner knife at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-02/muskrat-other-fish-meat-105757 Dinner: Where the wild things are http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-02-27/dinner-where-wild-things-are-96788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-29/wild game dinner_Louisa Chu.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gameantelopeburger.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 399px;" title="Antelope burgers laced with blue cheese and spinach (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p><span style="text-align: left;">Elk lasagna, antelope burgers laced with blue cheese and spinach, BBQ beaver: These were among the highlights at this year&#39;s annual Wild Game Dinner at the </span><a href="http://hscillinois.org/Home_Page.php" style="text-align: left;">Harvard Sportsman&#39;s Club</a><span style="text-align: left;"> in pastoral McHenry County.</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gameoutdoorpots.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 413px;" title="" /></p><p>That last item was gone by the time I reached the hot buffet at the all-you-could-meat meal, but I did not leave hungry. In fact, I had barely arrived at the end of a long line that snaked out of the club house into the parking lot, when I was greeted with an outdoor amuse bouche station &mdash; at least that&#39;s what I called it.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gameoutdoorgrills.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 413px;" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">A standard kitchen sized stockpot held wild turkey gumbo, while two huge pots served buffalo chili and venison heart stew. The stew was actually more of a soup, spring green with celery, with chewy bits of heart, which taste a lot like chicken gizzards.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gamevenisonheart.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 399px;" title="Venison heart stew (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">On the door of the club house, the posted menu teased the offerings inside. All the fish and game was donated and cooked by club members. Most of it was local, some was not.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gamedinnermenu.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 399px;" title="The Wild Game Dinner menu (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">Other signs gave ample warning to anyone who just happened to wander by, join the long line, and enter the ultimate man cave. The club was founded in 1946 &quot;to encourage its members to practice game and fish conservation.&quot; The club also hosts <a href="http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety/Pages/HunterSafety.aspx">Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Hunter Safety</a> <a href="http://hscillinois.org/uploads/Hunter_Safety_2012_Class_Notice.pdf">instructor-led courses and certification of competency</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gamenotinspected.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px;" title="(WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">This year&#39;s wild game dinner was actually the 10th annual thrown by the club itself; previously the Kiwanis Club held a similar event on the premises. The Harvard Sportsman&#39;s Club will host its 66th annual Smelt Fry on April 20, 2012. Members told me it&#39;s said to be the single biggest one day smelt fry in the country. This year they&#39;ll serve 1,700 pounds of the little fish, which they deep fry in pancake batter. Unlike the game dinner, the smelt fry is also all you can drink, which at only $15, I suspect may account in part for its popularity.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gameappstable.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px;" title="" /></p><p>The game dinner appetizer table was impressive enough itself, in both product and preparation, with spicy antelope meatballs, pickled bluegill, pickled northern pike,&nbsp;<span style="text-align: center;">goose&nbsp;pâté, salmon spread, hot smoked salmon,&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: center;">hot smoked trout, and&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: center;">venison sausages&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: center;">(the latter two items not on the menu)</span><span style="text-align: center;">. The steam line was a serve-yourself affair and was constantly replenished when possible. The elk Stroganoff was replaced by elk lasagna, but beaver was not seen again.</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gamedinnerbuffet.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px;" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">The &quot;venison Italian Beef&quot; was venison only, with bread on the side to make and dip your own wild Chicago-style sandwiches.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/venisonitalianbeef.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px;" title="'Venison Italian Beef' (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">I took a taste of everything available, including a couple of things I&#39;d never tried before: Busch and Old Style beers. They were the perfect pairings.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/gamedinnerplate.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 465px;" title="A full plate (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><u><strong>Wild Game Dinner Menu 2012</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;">Wild turkey gumbo</p><p style="text-align: center;">Wild turkey sliders</p><p style="text-align: center;">Hunter stew</p><p style="text-align: center;">Venison Italian Beef</p><p style="text-align: center;">Venison heart stew</p><p style="text-align: center;">Venison Salisbury steak in mushroom gravy</p><p style="text-align: center;">Spicy antelope meatballs</p><p style="text-align: center;">Mild antelope meatballs</p><p style="text-align: center;">Mule deer cube steak in tomato sauce</p><p style="text-align: center;">Mule deer cube steak in mushroom sauce</p><p style="text-align: center;">Goose&nbsp;pâté</p><p style="text-align: center;">Goose stir fry</p><p style="text-align: center;">Salmon spread</p><p style="text-align: center;">Smoked salmon</p><p style="text-align: center;">Elk Stroganoff</p><p style="text-align: center;">Elk lasagna</p><p style="text-align: center;">Grilled venison tenderloin wrapped in bacon</p><p style="text-align: center;">Grilled goose breast</p><p style="text-align: center;">Antelope, blue cheese, and spinach burgers</p><p style="text-align: center;">BBQ wild boar ribs and sauerkraut</p><p style="text-align: center;">Smoked pheasant legs in Asian sauce</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pheasant egg rolls</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pheasant in peach BBQ sauce</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pheasant fajitas</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pickled northern pike</p><p style="text-align: center;">Pickled bluegill</p><p style="text-align: center;">Fried bluegill</p><p style="text-align: center;">Buffalo chili</p><p style="text-align: center;">BBQ raccoon</p><p style="text-align: center;">BBQ beaver</p><p style="text-align: center;">(Smoked trout)</p><p style="text-align: center;">(Venison sausages)</p></p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 00:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-02-27/dinner-where-wild-things-are-96788