Are you a sprinter or a marathoner?-
Being in fitness for a large part of my life has helped me gain a better understanding of body composition and how to win a race. It has also helped me be a better cook.
My daughter is a college track athlete. She is a sprinter and jumper, quick and fast. But to see her run the 800 or the mile, is like watching a sloth eat, slow and painful.
Her muscle make-up is mostly fast twitch muscle fiber or also known as white muscle fiber. It makes her fast. She can also jump far and high. Slow twitch muscle fiber (red muscle fiber) on the other hand enables some people to run very long distances like a marathon. Wild game is the same way. Think of a duck, like a marathoner. He has to fly south for the winter every year. That’s some marathon. A rabbit, on a normal day, gently hops here and there until its startled and then it’s off like a shot, but only for a short distance.
Red meat typically has more red fiber muscle for long distances and lighter colored meat or “white meat is great for quick bursts of energy. Chickens legs are darker and have more flavors because the chicken struts around scratching for food all day and its breast meat is white because a chicken rarely uses their wings to fly. The next time you are preparing game meat, you will know which animals are marathoners. They will have a stronger flavor and this knowledge will help you with the outcome of your wild game dish.
Look at these crapie filets. They are very white and they don’t have much flavor.
Now think of salmon filets, they are coral colored and have a stronger flavor.
There are many examples of this from all the meats we eat. I hope the next time you are in the meat section at the grocery store or after a hunt, you will spend a moment thinking about the muscle fibers and how they will taste. This has helped me become a better cook.
I hope you enjoy my recipe for Bluegill Chowder. You can substitute just about any fish for the bluegills. For all the pictures and previous blog about cooking with fish, follow this link:
Bluegill or Fish Chowder
1 lb of uncooked pan fish, cut into bite size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots coined
2 potatoes diced
3/4 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
1 bottle of Clam Juice
1 quart half and half
salt and pepper to taste
- Cook celery, onion, carrots in 1/4 cup of butter for about 5 minutes in a large sauce pan. Add potatoes, clam juice, and enough water to just cover the veggies and simmer until potatoes are tender.
- Add raw fish to veggies and cook until fish is no longer gray and cooked through, remove from heat. Careful not to over cook or your fish will fall apart.
- In separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Cook until mixture resembles sand. Stir in half and half and cook until thickened about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in half and half mixture into veggies and fish. Return to heat and heat through, being careful not to boil. Serve immediately.
- 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Cooking Wild Game (wildchow.wordpress.com)
- # 2 Of Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Cooking Wild Game (wildchow.wordpress.com)
- The Gamey Taste of Game Meat, Part I (lazyhomesteader.com)
- Slate: Why does everything taste like chicken? (dailyitem.com)