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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rabbit Hunting




I thought about leaving out the skinning-of-the-rabbit photo but figured what the heck... it's a part of what this post is all about. A wild cottontail rabbit dinner. :)

This year, there is an abundance of wildlife in my area. The cottontails are thick! So are the owls and hawks who prey on them. I hadn't eaten rabbit in a few years so decided it was a good time to do so.
Rabbit hunting doesn't involve much.... I step out onto either my front porch or my back porch with the .22 and pick a nice tender bunny.

After cleaning and skinning the rabbit, I let it soak overnight in salt water...



trimmed the rabbit and cut the backbone to lay flat...



drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper and smoked paprika...



I wanted to give the rabbit a shot of smoke and also brown the meat a bit...so into the drum with a kiss of hickory...







meanwhile, I cooked some bacon til crisp, added butter, scallions, onions and garlic to the drippings....cooked them til tender.


also placed a few of my dried morel mushrooms in water to hydrate...




I cut the lightly browned rabbit into sections.. the hind legs, front legs (wings) and divided the saddle...



into the pot of onions and garlic... I also added a few potatoes to the cooker for smooshed tatoes.



I then added a bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock and a little bit of wine. Then let it simmer...


When the potatoes were tender I sauteed scallions and garlic in butter, added flour, then milk to make a sauce....then mixed in the smoked, cubed potatoes...milk and butter, salt and pepper to taste.



smooshed them up a bit.... I make these tatoes often. I love the garlic and smokey flavor. :)



back to the wabbit...

the morels went in next, I let them simmer til tender...I thickened the gravy with a cornstarch slurry.




That's pretty much it.
The smoked garlic smooshed tatoes topped with tender wild rabbit and morel mushroom gravy...









The rabbit was so tender and juicy.. I had forgotten how tasty they are!




I hope to get a couple more rabbits before season ends.

The weather has been beautiful the last few days. Very mild for this time of the year. I'm hoping to go fishing sometime soon.
The Oklahoma earthquakes are getting interesting. We had a 5.1 quake in Fairview this morning that had my house shaking. They seem to be getting stronger!


Hope everyone has a nice Valentine's Day tomorrow. Give your loved ones a hug while you have the chance. :)



Monday, February 8, 2016

Cold Smoking and Canning Salmon (again)




Had the time to do a little bit of cold smoking last week. It was a good opportunity to restock my smoked canned salmon supply.  I seem to go through this stuff pretty fast.

I used some wild caught salmon, mixed a cure of three parts brown sugar to one part canning salt.






cut slits into the salmon...careful to not go through the skin...



The slits help both the cure and smoke penetrate into the meat..




Rubbed the fish with the cure... getting down into the slits and covering the skin side...





covered the salmon well.... then let it cure in the fridge overnight.



Rinsed the cured salmon with cool water and let it dry on the kitchen counter...



Time to hang in the smokehouse...



I used a mixture of alder wood and apple wood.....kept the temperature of the smoke at 40 degrees F. The outside air temp was pretty cold. As long as I cold smoke the fish above freezing and below 85 degrees F, it works out fine.





The canning process intensifies the smoke flavor so I cold smoked the salmon for close to 3 hours...



The cold smoked salmon...




It's hard to see in the pics but the smoked salmon is a deep color and almost looks like candied salmon..



I then cut the salmon from the skin and it's ready to can...





I add a sliver of onion and 1 tsp of oil in each half pint jar...



I wipe the rims of the jars with a cloth dipped in white vinegar to cut through any oil on the rim..
then topped with hot lids...


Keep the lids warm but not boiling..



The jars ready for the pressure canner...





I pressure can the salmon at 12lbs of pressure for 100 minutes. Times and pressures will be different for different altitudes. Best to check your own canner instructions,

I let the jars cool on the counter overnight...





Had to give it a taste test!

Mixed up a smoked salmon, cream cheese spread...





I liked this a LOT. :)



I also made some smoked salmon deviled eggs, with scallions, red onions, mayo and bacon added...





I'll be making these more often!



All that work for a deviled egg. :)  It was totally worth it!

The smoked salmon came out great. I smoked this batch a bit longer than the last one. I'll check another jar in a week or so and see if it made a difference.


Still think I need to move closer to the ocean, but right now I feel lucky to have a great seafood supplier here in the middle of nowhere.

Hope everyone recovered from the Super Bowl weekend. I don't watch football but made my usual snacks for the game. I'll probably post pics soon.

Thanks for stopping by!