Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Going Feral

Eating wild game in the winter reminds me of my childhood. I grew up eating rich stews and chili made from elk, deer, feral hog, and aoudad sheep throughout the winter. We pretty much always had some frozen venison laying around, and would eat it fairly regularly. So, when my father came by work last week and dropped a bunch of frozen animals in my lap, I was stoked. My Uncle Fuji, who is in fact not my Uncle at all, but rather a friend of my Pop's since High School, had brought him some snook, catfish, and feral hog earlier in the week. Fuji lives out in Roundtop, TX on some of the most beautiful sprawling acreage that I've seen, complete with a several acre lake, and tasty wild life. 

Feral hogs are pretty much pests, albeit tasty pests. Some people open up their land and let others come out and shoot these beasts. They can get pretty fucking big, and have nasty, Staph covered tusks that will fuck you up royally if they get close enough. Some people trap these things, and then shoot them, which seems kinda sketchy to me. Anyway, a gift of game is always appreciated, especially when the giver actually tells you that the snook has the scales still on it... 

I went to check out the new Twin Liquors that recently opened in the Hancock Center on Friday. I was dressed to the nines in my blood striped navy track pants, green mesh tank top, flip flops, and top knot. Hey, after all, it is January, right?! I was instantly stoked to have such a nice liquor store across the golf course from my house. I was really excited to see that they had such an extensive wine selection. This year, I'm trying to get back to my wine roots that dug deep at the beginning of the Aughties. Less beer, more wine and Scotch; the makings of a great year. I called up Shaddley, to see what wines he was distributing to the jernt. After a few phone calls, he asked if I'd like to come down to North Buda to cook some food for him and his wifey. Damn right! I had plans to go see a co-workers show, but those plans quickly dissolved into the abyss as I headed down into the depths of the dirty South with YogaMarketingBrownieGirl. 

A quick stop by the 'Ville to procure a few more provisions, and I was set to cook some grub. I had some leftover prepped butternut squash from some soup that I'd made that day for a meal set for Saturday, a bit of gnocchi, feral hog, guajillo chiles, and some Swiss chard. A co-worker of mine from New Mexico had shown me the proper way to make a red chile, not chili (no tomatoes here!), and I planned on braising the feral hog in this crimson deliciousness. I made a quick soup with the butternut squash, some stock, and sake, which turned out to be quite delicious. The sake provided a nice backbone for the sweet, subtle flavors of the squash. I'd like to try this again with kabocha squash, which is a little bit more flavorful, and shares a common origin to the sake. 

Shaddley in his element...

Anyway, the wine was flowing freely, and we managed to drink nine bottles over the course of the evening. We started with with some open bottles of Porter Bass Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Zin was pretty jammy--some of which went into the braise--but not too overpowering. The exact order we drank the wine is a bit fuzzy to me, but I do recall some of the standouts. I've not been a fan of Rieslings in the past, but as I get older, I seem to like them more. The Joh Jos. Christoffel 2002 Riesling Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese was probably the finest I've had; crisp, sweet, and not overly fruity, I'd like to try this again with some wintry soup or goat cheese. I'm somewhat into Sauvignon Blanc at the moment, despite this cooler weather; Shaddley opened up some Domaine Mardon Quincy Sauvignon Blanc, that was from another world compared to the New Zealand Sauvingnon Blanc's I've been drinking recently. French wine is just, well, crazy. Dirty and dry, with complex flavors popping up all over the tongue. Thanks for sharing this one! The last standout for me was the Charles Krug Zin Port. I love port. Shaddley could have peed in the bottle and I would of lapped it up like a stray dog drinking out of a pothole. At his wedding I polished off a whole bottle of Becker Vineyards Port, so there seems to be a theme here...

She's got legs...

There were a few other folks hanging around, Siobhan (you extra points for correct pronunciation), a good friend of Shaddley's since High School, two dudes from Moving Matter, Chris Holland, and good ol' Chicago Fats, Ellen Greenwood (the Woo's sister), and some dude named Sham, who in fact was a sham. Only Chris ate with Shaddley, YogaMarketingBrownieGirl and I, and the food slammed. There were a few ideas popping up in my head about what I'll do the next time I do this braise. The color was so intensely red it was frightening, and the flavor of the chiles was a perfect compliment to the hog. 

Flapjacks at the table.

Red is the color...

Big thanks to my Uncle Fuji for the feral hog, as well as my Pops for bringing it to me. Thanks again, Shaddley for the hospitality, and for being so generous with your wines, you rule. Stay warm, and happy eating in '09.

5 comments:

amenity said...

New Mexican chile gravy - skeptical .... We definitely have a good arsenal of sauces, and most involve a roux of some sort, and none contain tomatoes nor an "i" at the end...but gravy? Regardless, looks amazing.

Flapjacks said...

that's just what he called it. it's just red chile, the method using whole chiles sans the roux. ground red chiles+roux=same damn thing.

Iris said...

Just say yes to Rieslings!

Shadd Scott said...

It was actually Chehalem 2005 Willamette Pinot Noir from the Johnson's and a Luca 2001 Beso de Dante.
The riesling for dessert was Joh Jos. Christoffel 2002 Riesling Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese. I bought a case of this stuff on clearance for like 5-10 bucks a bottle!
It is usually about 50. Good deal. That was my last bottle. I can't believe you finally like Riesling.
I thought you said it was sugar water? The cheap ones are. Good German riesling can be the best whites you ever done seen!

Flapjacks said...

See what I'm sayin'. You got me fucked up. Even my notes failed.

Folks who Follow this Blog