My favorite game cookbooks
Cooking venison represents the final step in the hunting process. As most of us are not professional chefs, it can be challenging to prepare the meat you hunted the right way. Luckily, hunters and chefs around the world have written cookbooks to help us sublime the meat at home.
Concerning my own experience, I had the chance to study at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. This gave me the basics of kitchen art from hygiene to kitchen organization. To be honest it’s quite an advantage. Knowing your basics is essential if you want to start to cook on your own.
Let’s assume that you’ve already learned the basics of cooking. Here are my seven favorite game cookbooks that you have to own:
1) Le guide culinaire – Auguste Escoffier
If I had to choose just one book, it would be this one. The guide was published in 1903. During this time, Escoffier cooked for kings and princes of Europe and even the world. He invented the modern kitchen from the recipes to the way you will organize your kitchen professionally.
The recipes are quite complicated to follow as some of them require a lot of rare ingredients but it will inspire you to understand cooking and create your own meal. This cookbook is about taking time to cook; quite the opposite of the way many of us cook today.
Steven Rinella wrote an amazing book about Escoffier and how he spent a year re-creating some of the chef’s recipes.
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is: Côtelettes de Chevreuil sauce Poivrade (p.652)
2) The meateater fish and cookbook – Steven Rinella
This guy has written adventure books, but also cooking books. This one is quite perfect as you will find tips to harvest, gut, butcher, and cook your venison. Even if you found inspiration in Escoffier, this book is about American food and this is why I love it.
In Europe, we have the tendency to cook venison as a Gastronomic dish. I respect that, but in my own opinion, venison is about sharing a simple meal with your friends and family. For this to happen, it has to be accessible. Steven proposes recipes that aren’t time- or money-consuming. They are also not hard to do at all.
I also recommend The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 1 from the same author.
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is: Venison Bolognese (p.50)
3) Gibier: Recettes, histoire, modes de chasses et anecdotes – Bruno Doucet
This book is quite heavy and you will find a lot of information about the history of hunting in France. It’s always interesting to have context when you follow a recipe because there are always great stories to tell behind a recipe. You’ll also understand why this Chef decided to focus on venison.
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is: Tourte chaude de lièvre commun, de touraine, en feuilletage (p.245)
4) Venaison 40 recettes – Jose L. Souto
This one is smaller than the previous one but also has a chapter about wildlife and history. The other advantage is you’ll find chapters about what to cook for Christmas and New Year and also some “exotic” recipes like the “Tajine à la marocain”
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is: Croquettes retour de chasse (p.72)
5) The Hog Book – Wild Hog Project
Apparently, in the USA, not a lot of people like to eat Wild Boars. Despite this, a team of hunters decided to write a cookbook about how to prepare and cook them. They also have some cool merchandising.
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is: Wild Hog ‘Nduja (p.20)
6) Cuisiner le chevreuil / Cuisiner le sanglier – Valéry Drouet et Pièrre-Louis Viel
These two books are super useful as they are small and have 50 recipes in each of them. You will find all the traditional recipes for venison.
My favorite recipe from this cookbook is Noisette de chevreuil, sauce lie de vin, Mousseline de Céleri.
7) The cookbook I need to buy
As I don’t have all of them, here’s the list of the ones I want to buy:
- Venison Every Day: The No-Fuss Guide to Cooking Game at Home – Allie Doran
- Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things – Hank Shaw
- Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish Hardcover – Jesse Griffiths
- La cuisine du gibier à plume d’Europe – Benoît Violier
The common point of all these books is the passion and the love for the hunt, for the animal you will take, and for sharing a meal with friends and family.
Hunting is all about passion, from the hunt to the plate, every step is crucial to make an ethical hunt.
You may also be interested in reading more of my favorite recipes on this article: “My favorite venison recipes“
You can find these recipes cooked by me on my Instagram: huntandeatwell
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