After the hunt: A field-to-table feast
Quail hunting is more than a sport. It’s about gathering friends and family together for a day of connection – to the land, to the animals, and to each other. And whether it’s quail, deer, duck or any other wild game, preparing a feast for those you love from what you harvested is one of the best ways to keep the joy of the hunt alive.
We recently asked Southern chef Shealy Dixon, to create a field-to-table menu that exuded hunting life in the South. Shealy is creator and owner of Sweetly, Shealy, the best bakery east of the Mississippi. There are two locations: the original in Camilla (less than 10 miles from Rio Piedra) and another in downtown Thomasville. Make sure to stop by on your next trip to Rio Piedra.
Shealy is a 5th generation Camilla business owner (her grandfather’s hardware store and her dad’s furniture and appliance business are steps away from her Camilla location). She is passionate about feeding her customers real, homecooked food made with love. We are SO excited and thankful that she is sharing some of her recipes with us today. Hope you enjoy them!
*From the time I was a little girl, I’ve loved feeding people. It’s my love language. I think I enjoy watching people savor my food more than they do. I love to throw dinner parties, and any occasion can be an excuse for a party in my book. I pull out all of my china, crystal, family silver, and linen napkins. (Ideally, if it’s a big party, I hire someone to clean up too, so I can enjoy my guests.) A candlelit dinner around my dining room table with my family is my happy place. Well, that and Grandaddy’s back porch at sunset. And Mijas, Spain. And Alligator Point Beach in Florida. Anyhow, I digress.
Here are a few ideas for your next field-to-table dinner party. Enjoy!*
Kahlua Pecan Brie
Shealy’s note: I think this is a nice farm-to-table recipe because pecans are a South Georgia crop & Sweet Grass Dairy makes a great Brie-like cheese that would be perfect for this recipe!
Ingredients: 1 15 oz. Pkg. Brie 1/2 c. finely chopped and toasted pecans 1 1/2 Tbs. Brown sugar 2 Tbs. Kailua (or more!) Apple slices or ginger snaps
- Remove rind from the top of the brie.
- Place on microwave safe dish.
- Combine pecans, sugar, and Kahlua and spread mixture over the top of cheese.
- Microwave until melted.
- Serve with apple slices or ginger snaps.
Shealy’s note: I found this recipe online a few years ago, and I save it for special occasions. Serve it with a nice cabernet sauvignon, roasted root vegetables, & homemade mashed potatoes (don’t you DARE defile this recipe with those flakes from a box)! It’s special, festive, and rich, making it perfect for a small gathering during the holidays.
Venison Steak Diane
Ingredients: Venison backstrap, boned lamb loin, or beef filet mignon Salt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 shallots, minced (go ahead & get shallots instead of onions - you’ll feel fancy) 6 garlic cloves, minced ½ cup brandy (make sure to take a swig while you’re cooking) 1 cup venison stock or beef broth 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons mustard 2 tablespoons tomato paste ½ cup heavy whipping cream to turn the sauce the color of coffee-with-cream (bonus: you get to put the rest in your coffee this week!) Minced herbs for garnish (basil, parsley, chives, etc. - if you don’t have them, come filch them from my backyard garden.)
- Bring the venison loin out of the fridge, salt it well, and let it come to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds. Pat the venison dry with a paper towel and cook it on all sides. Turn the heat to medium so the butter doesn’t scorch and take your time. It should take about 8-10 minutes to get a nice brown crust on the venison without overcooking the center. Remove the venison, tent loosely with foil and set aside. (This part is actually important - don’t skip it!)
- Add the shallots to the sauté pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Don’t let the garlic burn.
- Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping off any stuck-on bits in the pan with a wooden spoon (It’s going to hiss at you, but just tell it to shush - don’t be skeered). Let the brandy cook down almost to a glaze, then add the venison stock, tomato paste, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce; stir to combine. Let this boil down until a wooden spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail behind it that does not fill in for a second or two. This should take about 3 minutes on high heat.
- Turn off the heat and let the boiling subside. Stir in the cream until the sauce is as light as you like. Don’t let the sauce boil again, or it could break. Breaking is bad.
- Slice the venison into thick medallions. If you find you have not cooked it enough, let the meat swim in the sauce for a few moments to heat through. If the venison is to your liking, pour some sauce on a plate and top with the meat. Garnish with some chopped herbs. Chives is traditional, but basil and parsley are also nice.
Kieffer Pear Cobbler
Source: Big Mary
Shealy’s note: Big Mary (she was actually quite petite) worked for my grandfather from the time she was 16 until she passed away. She didn’t know how to boil water when she came to work for the Dixons, but my grandmother & great grandmother taught her to cook. All of her recipes were in her head, so when I was home from college at The University of Georgia, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her writing down her recipes as I watched her cook. Kieffer pears are hard, unattractive pears that grow well in our region. My father & grandfather both have trees, so this is a cobbler recipe that works for these pears.
Ingredients Kieffer pears, boiled in water and sugar until softened 1 stick butter, salted 1 c. Sugar 1 c. self-rising flour 1 c. milk
- Melt butter in the bottom of the dish.
- Add softened pears.
- Pour mixture of sugar, flour, and milk over pears and bake at 350° for 45 min., 325° for 1 hr., or 300° for 1 1/2 hrs.
More on Sweetly, Shealy: Sweetly, Shealy is packed full of yumminess. All of the bread is made with home-milled grain, including their delicious Ezekiel bread. They serve yummy boxed lunches (we love their Bacon Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Sandwich!), whole-pan and half-pan casseroles, chicken salad and pimento cheese by the pint, fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, pound cake, cupcakes, and cookies. Try our favorite, the Chocolate Chip Kitchen Sink Cookie – you’ll be hooked.
Also, don’t miss the Georgia Grown products she carries at both locations. You can find goodies like cheese straws, honey, pecan butter, pecan oil, and wine all with the Georgia Grown stamp of approval. A perfect treat to take home!
19 SOUTH SCOTT STREET
CAMILLA, GA 31730
127 EAST JACKSON STREET
THOMASVILLE, GA 31792