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Go wild for your Mardi Gras celebration with this Big Easy dish

BY Wil Hafner

ON 02-23-2022


Feb. 23, 2022

Wil Hafner

East Central Regional Educator

Mardi Gras can be a celebration in many ways, and a feast of wild game on Fat Tuesday is how I like to celebrate. Wild game plays well into Cajun dishes due to the vast array of wild game found in the swamps of south Louisiana. Although jambalaya is a more traditional Cajun dish, pastalya uses pasta instead of rice. This easy one-pot meal can serve a crowd and can easily be whipped up on a weeknight.

For this dish I have incorporated duck andouille, a traditional Cajun smoked sausage prepared using wild game chef, Hank Shaw’s, recipe. As well as venison backstrap and a hearty helping of swamp rabbit harvested on a recent hunt in Arkansas County. Cajun cooking can be very adaptive as you never know what game you might bring to the table that evening. This dish works equally as well with store-bought chicken and sausage, but wild game serves as a celebration of the season that has come and gone.

Wil’s Wild Pastalya

1 lb. wild game (venison and rabbit), cut into bite-sized pieces

½ lb. Andouille, sliced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 ribs of celery, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon oregano

2 cans diced tomatoes and green chilies

8 oz. can tomato sauce

3 cups chicken stock

1 lb. dry pasta

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Grated parmesan for garnish

For this dish, start with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in an 8 quart stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the sausage, venison, and rabbit. Once golden brown, add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are tender. At this point there will be bits of brown goodness stuck to the pan which will need to be deglazed by adding your chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season generously with your favorite Cajun seasoning and a large dash of oregano. While boiling, add your pasta. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked to your liking and the stock is absorbed. Garnish with green onions and grated parmesan, serve with a slice of crusty French bread.

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