OK – we’ve hunted or caught our wild game. Now what?
One Wisconsin hunter and chef wants us to know there are more options than pouring a can of cream of mushroom soup over the top of venison to cook it.
That will be the theme of Starla Batzko’s "Cooking Gone Wild with Starla" seminar on the Outdoor Grilling Stage at the Journal Sentinel Sports Show.
With her own seasoning and mixes company, www.StarlaSeasonings.com, and with regular appearances as the spice chef on the "Wild Things Show: Cooking Wild Game" cooking series (WildThingsShow.com), Batzko has extensive experience in making everything from venison beer sliders to stroganoff with the food that is hunted and fished around Wisconsin, and beyond.
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“I try to expand people’s choices with different recipes,” said Batzko. “This is for the people with wild game - and don’t know how to prepare it.”
Batzko lives on a 60-acre property in Belgium, where she manages Starla’s Seasonings, Dips & Mixes, and her favorite game to hunt in Wisconsin is turkey. She also hunts deer, pheasant and duck, goes fishing, and travels to places like Texas, where she went to college, to hunt wild pig and wildebeest.
It was there, in fact, that Batzko began teaching nutrition classes as an extension agent for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and then began sharing her wild game cooking tips.
Now Batzko is a regular at sports and camping shows. She teaches wild game cooking at the simplest to intermediate levels, using staple ingredients like onion, cream cheese and mayonnaise. Some recipes simply call for fresh trout to be wrapped in tin foil with white wine, butter, citrus, dill, garlic and onion.
It's just another way to continue the adventure - by preparing the meal.
“I cook with the stuff people actually have – and not some funky mushroom or something they have to go look for,” said Batzko.
She offers a grilled deer camp packet that blends potato, onion, peppers, olive oil and her Glorious Garlic seasoning. She teaches cooking from the grill to the oven and also highly recommends an Instant Pot (especially for those of us already challenged in the cooking department).
“Buy one. It’s totally moron proof. If you can read, you can cook,” said Batzko. “I would give up my dishwasher before I gave up my Instant Pot.”
So if warm, cheesy pheasant dip, easy homemade tartar sauces and garlic crusted grilled trout – easy to make with just six ingredients – sound appealing, not intimidating, check out the seminar. Batzko plans to give her show attendees as many of her favorite recipes as possible.
“I just want people to get out of their same old routine. To explore different flavors,” said Batzko. “So many people bring the deer home and it lays in freezer until they take it out next year after another hunt.”
Starla Batzko will present "Cooking Gone Wild with Starla" at noon Thursday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Outdoor Grilling Stage.
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