Crave: Game on

photo by: Karen Keb/Mother Earth News

The fall season brings with it excitement for multiple things: cooler weather, putting up vegetables and meat for winter, and hunting season, to name a few. Hunting season, for many, comes with much anticipation. Each year is another chance to bag the big one, try out your new gear and equipment, and catch up with old friends.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned hunter and fisherman, there are always new things to learn about the preparation of wild game and fish. And, while you may already have your tried-and-true favorites, each new outing can also be a chance to try a new recipe. Here, you’ll find ideas and inspiration for ways to prepare everything from elk to crappie, as well as handy tips and techniques to use while out in pursuit of fresh game and fish.

The recipes in this article, taken from Cooking Fish & Game: Delicious Recipes from Shore Lunches to Gourmet Dinners, are a collection of many decades’ worth of testing, tasting and retesting in order to bring you meals that are sure to satisfy and keep you motivated for the next season. Enjoy the hunt–and its bounty.

Skillet Cornbread Elk Casserole

Yields 4 to 6 servings.


8 to 10 bacon strips

1 medium onion

2 pounds ground elk meat

2 cans (15 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained

2 cans (10 3⁄4 ounces each) tomato soup, or about 2 2⁄3 cups homemade

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 package (1 1⁄4 ounces) chili seasoning, or

2 1⁄2 tablespoons homemade blend

2 boxes (8 1⁄2 ounces each) corn muffin mix, or a little more than 2 cups of your favorite homemade mix, dry ingredients only

1 egg

1⁄3 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon strips. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.

2. Chop onion. Add onion and elk meat to drippings in skillet. Heat, stirring often, until onion is tender and meat is browned. Pour drippings from skillet, retaining onions and meat in skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add corn, tomato soup, garlic powder, chili seasoning and bacon to skillet.

3. In medium bowl, combine corn muffin mix, egg and milk. Mix until well-combined. Spread cornbread batter over ingredients in skillet. Place skillet in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cornbread topping is golden brown.

Venison Barbecue in the Slow Cooker

Yields 6 servings.

Moist-heat cooking is a great way to tenderize tougher cuts of venison, such as shoulder roasts and stew meat. Using a slow cooker, braising and boiling in stew are methods of cooking with moist heat.


1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

3 pounds cubed venison

1 cup red wine vinegar

1⁄2 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons tenderizing salt

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1 pound bacon strips

2 cups ketchup

1⁄2 cup molasses

1⁄2 cup brown sugar


1. Dice onion and mince garlic.

2. In 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, place onion, garlic, venison, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tenderizing salt and seasoned salt. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon strips until tender but not crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and chop into 1⁄2-inch pieces. After 1 or 2 hours, add bacon, ketchup, molasses and brown sugar to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for an additional 8 to 9 hours.

4. To serve, stir ingredients in slow cooker and transfer to serving plates. Serve with rice, potatoes or toast.

Duck & Shrimp Gumbo

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Most ducks have a wide, flat beak adapted for dredging food such as insects, fish, aquatic plants, worms and small amphibians. Because of their similar appearance, ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds, such as loons, grebes, gallinules, and coots.


2 ducks, cut into serving pieces

1 tablespoon oil

1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

2 medium onions

2 stalks celery

1 large red bell pepper

1 large green bell pepper

4 bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups water

6 cups chicken broth

6 green onions

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Clean duck pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Prick duck skin all over with tip of sharp knife.

2. In large heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add duck pieces in batches, and brown on all sides. Transfer browned duck pieces to clean bowl and drain all but 1⁄4 cup of pan drippings. Return pot to medium-low heat. Stir flour into drippings in pan. Heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until roux is well-browned, similar to the color of peanut butter.

3. Meanwhile, chop onions, celery and peppers. Stir onions, celery, peppers, bay leaves and salt into pot. Heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but still crisp. Stir in water, chicken broth and browned duck pieces. Bring soup to boil, reduce heat and let simmer until duck is tender, about 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 hours.

4. Remove soup from heat. Transfer duck pieces to cutting board and shred meat into large pieces, discarding any bones and skin. Skim any fat from surface of soup. Return duck meat to pot and bring to boil.

5. Meanwhile, chop green onion stems. Reduce soup to a simmer and stir in green onions, shrimp and cayenne pepper. Heat for about 2 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.

— Excerpted from Mother Earth News. To find more recipes and food articles from Mother Earth News, please visit or call 800-234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2020 by Ogden Publications Inc.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.