Mama Mia, a team from Grant County, placed third in the West Virginia Road Kill Cook Off with their "Venison from Venice" recipe. Their Italian theme featured Braised Italian style Venison sausage with Celery Root and Portabella Mushrooms. The team consisted of Ed Fischer, Chef and owner of the North Fork Mountain Inn, Alicia Reel, Grant County Deputy Clerk, and husband Mike. Mike was a judge of the competition 2 years ago and his insights helped them prepare for this cook off that has been featured on Andrew Zimmer's TV Show "Bizarre Foods" and the Food Network. The contestants do not actually use road kill in this competition but any animal that might be found alongside the road as a result of an accident would qualify. Before the cooking begins the properly processed uncooked wild game is inspected by the West Virginia DNR to insure its origin and to maintain quality standards.
The judges were served the entree along with Southwestern Style Chicken purses, Tiramisu for dessert and Italian Prosecco "Moscato d' Asti". It seemed to be the crowd favorite as they had the longest lines and received rave reviews from many visitors including Jim and Lynn Wilson from Cabins, WV. that is planning Burl and Barbara Dent from Gay, WV are checking into the North Fork Mountain Inn the following Monday was surprised to find their chef cooking in this competition that they have been attending for many years. She commented, "We discovered that this event has a cult following attracting guests from West Virginia and all the surrounding states." There were even attendees from Florida, Tennessee, and Texas. They were treated to beautiful fall colors as the leaves in Pocahontas County are starting to turn.
The second place team was the Hotty Potty Cooks led by Shawn Smith from Beckley, WV with a recipe called "Chunks and More". First place went to the Coal Hollow Brothers featuring Ed Blackford from Christiansburg, VA returning after a 5 year absence from the cook off. The winning dish was Hunter Venison with Wild Mushrooms.
"We have three judges this year," Paula Garretson, Vice President of the Pocahontas Chamber of Commerce said. "They are Amy Goodwin, the West Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and the Commissioner of Tourism. We have Steven Keith; he's the Senior Editor of Miles Magazine. He also writes a column for the Charleston Daily News called ‘The Food Guide.' And we have a gentleman that goes by ‘Uncle Millie,' and he's a gourmet chef of wild game and he's from Michigan."
Mike and the team is very excited about returning next year with a goal of winning first prize. Planning and preparing a dish made from wild game for over 2,000 people takes a lot of work and planning but the positive feedback from the participants made it all worthwhile.
Here is the recipe for this award winning preparation
Braised Venison with Portabella Mushrooms, Celery Root, and Toasted Pecans
¾ POUNDS OF VENISON STEW MEAT 1 TABLESPOON ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR ¼ TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
1/8 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER 1/3 CUP RED WINE 3 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
1 ½ OUNCES PANCETTA, CHOPPED 1 TEASPOON FINES HERBES 2 CUPS SLICED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS
2 CUPS PEELED AND DICED CELERY ROOT 1 CUP CHOPPED ONIONS 4 CLOVES GARLIC CHOPPED
1 TABLESPOON SWEET PAPRIKA 1 TEASPOON CARAWAY SEED 1 ¾ CUPS CHICKEN STOCK
¼ CUP TOASTED PECAN HALVES KOSHER SALT & FRESH GROUND PEPPER ½ CUP SHREDDED SMOKED MOZZARELLA CHEESE
CUT VENISON INTO 1 INCH CUBES. SPRINKLE WITH FLOUR, SALT, AND PEPPER. IN A LARGE SAUTE PAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT, SAUTE VENISON IN BUTTER AND PANCETTA FOR 6 TO 7 MINUTES, OR UNTIL LIGHTLY BROWNED. ADD MUSHROOMS, CELERY ROOT, ONIONS, GARLIC, PAPRIKA, CARAWAY, AND FINES HERBES AND CONTINUE COOKING FOR 8 MINUTES. ADD STOCK AND WINE AND BRING TO A BOIL. REDUCE HEAT, COVER, AND SIMMER FOR 1/1/4 HOURS. SEASON TO TASTE.
GARLIC LIME RICE
1 TABLESPOON CANOLA OIL 3 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED 1 LARGE ONION CHOPPED
2 CUPS LONG GRAIN RICE 1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT 3-4 CUPS LOW SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH
JUICE OF 3 LIMES (RESERVE JUICE OF 1 LIME FOR GARNISH) ZEST OF 2 LIMES
HEAT THE OIL IN A LARGE SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT. ADD THE GARLIC AND ONIONS AND COOK FOR 3 TO 4 MINUTES. REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND ADD THE RICE AND SALT. COOK OVER A LOW HEAT FOR 3 MINUTES, STIRRING CONSTANTLY TO MAKE SURE THE RICE DOESN'T BURN. ADD 2 CUPS OF THE BROTH AND THE JUICE AND ZEST OF 2 LIMES AND BRING IT TO A BOIL. REDUCE THE HEAT TO LOW, COVER AND SIMMER FOR 10 TO 15 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE RICE IS DOME. ADD MORE LIQUID AS NEDDED. THE RICE SHOULDN'T BE STICKY.
2 CUPS CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO 1 CUP CHOPPED FRESH PARSLEY 3 SCALLIONS, CHOPPED
4 CLOVES GARLIC, COARSELY CHOPPED 1 TEASPOON GROUND CUMIN I TEASPOON SMOKED PAPRIKA
1 TEASPOON CAYENNE ½ CUP COARSELY CHOPPED PINE NUTS 2 TABLESPOONS WATER
2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
ADD ALL INGREDIENTS TO FOOD PROCESSOR, PULSING AND SCRAPING DOWN SIDES AS NEDDED
ONCE YOU HAVE THE RICE AND PESTO CREATED, COMBINE THEM TO TASTE, AND REFRIGERATE. SERVE THIS DISH COLD AND IT WILL REMAIN FRESH FOR ABOUT 5 DAYS.