The Green Way Outdoors

Episode 12 – Crawfish Etouffee

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock, low sodium
  • 1 oz. dried mushrooms (we used porcini)
  • ½ cup butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, center/seeds removed, choose
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp Barry’s Seasoning
  • 12 oz Cooked Crawfish

Serve with rice.

Directions:

  1. Heat 3 cups of the stock and add the dried mushrooms. Let soak for 10 minutes then remove from the stock and chop. Set both the stock and the rehydrated mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat a heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add butter and flour. Stir constantly until the roux develops a light brown color. Can take between 30-40 minutes.
  3. Add your mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add your garlic, stewed tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Add your cooked crawfish. Cook for an additional five minutes, season with salt/pepper to your liking. Serve over hot rice. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Episode 11 – Baked Rosemary Rabbit

Ingredients

  • 1 cottontail rabbit, patted dry
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp  dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 head broccoli, florets cut into bite size pieces
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together the rosemary, parsley, and cumin.
  3. Layer the onion and lemon on the bottom of a 9”x13” baking pan.
  4. Lightly coat the rabbit with olive oil and rub inside and out with the rosemary mixture.
  5. Put the prepared rabbit into the pan, favoring one side.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Remove pan from the oven. Fill the remainder of the pan with the broccoli making sure it isn’t touching the rabbit.
  8. Add a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the broccoli.
  9. Squeeze the remaining lemon over the rabbit.
  10. Cover pan with foil and return to oven, checking every 10-15 minutes until you reach 160°F in the thickest part of one of the back legs. Use an instant read thermometer and make sure you don’t go through the meat or hit bone as these will affect your reading.
  11. Plate and enjoy!

Crawfish Shakshuka

Ingredients

For the cajun seasoning:

  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • ½ Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

For the shakshuka:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced into rings with centers/seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2½ Tbsp prepared cajun seasoning (above)
  • 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • ½ lb crawfish meat, peeled, deveined, and cooked
  • 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped (plus some for garnish)
  • 4 eggs

For the pita:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 6-8” pita bread

Directions

Prepare the cajun seasoning:
Mix together cajun seasoning ingredients. Keep leftovers in a sealed container.

Prepare the shakshuka:
Coat the bottom a large sauté pan (preferably with straight sides and large enough to hold all the ingredients) with olive oil and warm over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, both bell peppers, and chili. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables on the bottom are deeply browned and beginning to char in spots, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant. Add cajun seasoning and stir in.

Add the can of tomatoes, mashing the tomatoes into bite size chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook until simmering, then add the garbanzo beans, crawfish meat, olives, and water. Reduce heat to low let and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parsley.

Using your wooden spoon, create a depression near the edge of the pan, crack an egg into it, and then spoon some of the sauce over just the white of the egg. Repeat 3 more times evenly spaced around the pan, each time leaving the yolk exposed. Cook for 7-8 minutes. The white should be just cooked with the yolks still runny. Garnish with additional parsley

Prepare the pita:
Heat enough oil to coat a small  pan until shimmering. Add a pita and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Slightly brush the top of the pita with oil and flip cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Repeat with another pita. Cut into sixths and serve.

My Black Duck Lesson

The_Green_Way_Outdoors_Black_Duck

The_Green_Way_Outdoors_Kyle_Green_Hunting_blogGrowing up my dad was really into deer hunting and fishing. Like most blue collar men, he worked long hours 5-6 days a week, and those activities were really the most attainable given his schedule. As you would expect, my first hunting experience was targeting whitetails from a ground blind, and my first fishing experience was in a rowboat chasing panfish. After I got the hunting bug, I immediately wanted to expand my horizons and try to target all the different species my home state of Michigan had to offer. As a high schooler I didn’t have much money, so borrowing or buying the correct gear was often my main roadblock. Jeff and I would often pool our money in order to get the necessities. Something that really interested us was duck hunting. The variety of duck species you could get, hunting from a boat, waking up early, and a type of hunting we could talk and laugh during were all attractive attributes of duck hunting. We saved up $400 and bought a used 12″ Jon Boat and another $550 for a used 5hp outboard. After we did some research we decided to try some of Michigan’s managed waterfowl areas, including Harsens Island. It took about five trips before we really came to terms with the fact that we didn’t know what we were doing. Every time we went we would pick up a new tip from another hunter or learn something based on our observations while we were out there. On Thanksgiving morning of that first year, I had a duck that happened to decoy and give me a decent chance to connect. I remember pulling the trigger and seeing it sore 40 yards away into some flooded corn. I ran as fast as I could in the direction I saw it go down. I was already thinking about how proud I would be to bring this big mallard back to my Aunt Denise’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I searched for 20 minutes before I found the duck laying face down in the water. I picked it up and literally shouted with excitement. I rushed back to show Jeffrey and we took the time to admire it. In our inexperience we both believed it was a hen mallard. We took some pictures and that was that. We checked our duck in at the check station, and the DNR officer marked our card after examining the duck and we were on our way. That night I cooked the duck in a smoker and my family got the opportunity to try my bacon wrapped smoked duck appetizer that I was so incredibly proud of. 

A few years later I had about 40 duck hunting trips under my belt and a far better understanding of the many varieties and species that were flying around in Michigan. I was looking through old pictures when I stumbled upon a few from that first Thanksgiving Day duck hunt. Upon further inspection I realized I was not holding a hen mallard in the pictures, I was holding a prized drake black duck. An absolutely perfect specimen for a trophy room. The black duck is especially sought after because their numbers have declined so much over the last 30 years. Some studies say up to 50%. The decline is likely due to over harvest, hybridization with mallards, and habitat loss. However, no population models have given a definite answer as to why the populations have dropped so significantly. That being said, I find the hybridization extremely fascinating. The ducks are so similar that interbreeding is very easy. Seeing a half mallard/half black duck fly into my decoys is something I have been hoping to see for years. I think it would be pretty neat to have a black duck, a hybrid, and a mallard all on the wall next to each other. Perhaps one day I will be able to do that and tell the story to house guests of the beautiful black duck.  

I have logged about 160 duck hunts since that Thanksgiving morning and I have never laid eyes on a black duck of that caliber again. Looking back I can’t say I wasn’t trying my best to learn everything I could about duck hunting, because I really was. But what I can say is I didn’t know what I didn’t know. A humbling revelation that keeps me humble and hungry for information in all aspects of my life. You just don’t know what you don’t know.

Episode 9 – Blackened Lake Trout & Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lake trout, filleted
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Baby spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes

 Directions

  1. Mix the paprika, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, pepper, thyme, oregano, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Pull 1 teaspoon and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a shallow dish.
  3. Dip each side of each fillet in the butter. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with spices, thoroughly coating.
  4. Heat a heavy cast iron pan on medium to high heat until hot enough to boil off 1 teaspoon of water in 5-10 seconds.
  5. Using long tongs to keep distance between yourself and the spattering butter, place fillets into the hot pan. Separate them, they shouldn’t be touching.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of the butter to the top of each fillet. Cook for 2 minutes until fish has charred or “blackened”.
  7. Flip fillets, adding 1 teaspoon melted butter over each, and cook both sides match.
  8. Cut into one of the fillets to make sure it is fully cooked. If your fillets are thicker and aren’t finished cooking through, leave on second side until cooked to desired level.
  9. Remove fish from heat.
  10. Add the spinach and tomatoes to your plate. Top with the blackened trout.
  11. Mix the mayonnaise and olive oil with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture and use as dressing.