It's hard to find the right phrase to describe the feeling of hunger after a long day of hunting. I suppose that it's all related to just how successful (or not) you might have been. And, as much as I love coming back to the barn to see how everyone else's hunts unfolded and preparing dinner, I'm hungry and need some food stat. When the standard chips and salsa gets boring, check out these ranch rolls.
Here are the highlights of why I love these Texas Ranch Rolls.
They utilize any ground game meat that you have in the freezer.
They can be totally prepped ahead of time.
They take a whole 5 minutes to fry.
There's bacon, so yeah.
1 pound of ground wild game meat(these were Scimitar!)
1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of ground ginger
2 cups of shredded cabbage(a mix works great!)
1/2 poblano pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno(optional), thinly sliced
1/4 pound of bacon, rough chopped or blended within the meat mixture(see notes below)
1 package of store bought egg roll wrappers (yes HEB sells them!)
1 small bowl of water(for sealing the edges of the wrappers)
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Oil for deep frying
Makes 10-12 rolls
Because wild game is so lean, I like to add some bacon to it in order to give it some fat and extra flavor. Depending on what you prefer, this might already be incorporated into the meat from the processor or you can add fresh bacon to the recipe during the cooking process. For me, the team over at Primo Processing blends bacon into the meat while it's being ground and it's awesome. If you don't already have some bacon (or any type of fat for that matter) blended in already, render down 1/4 pound of bacon in a pan until cooked through, but not crispy. Remove from the pan, leaving 2 tablespoons of the leftover oil and continue with the recipe below. We'll add the bacon back in later!
To start, add a good "glug" of olive oil to a pre-heated skillet and sweat down the onion, Poblano and Jalapeno (if you want some heat). Sweat these ingredients down for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to soften and season with salt and pepper. At this point, add in your ground game meat and brown. It's important to keep the pan quite hot during this point, so that you cook out any water that is being released from the meat. Stirring frequently, be sure to scrape off any of those stuck pieces of goodness at the bottom of the pan; it's where all of the flavor lives. While cooking, season with salt, pepper and add the ground ginger. Once cooked through and mixed thoroughly, remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Now is the time to add the cooked bacon to the mixture if you wanted.
I find that working on a relatively spacious cutting board makes this the easiest. Place the wrapper on your working surface and make sure that you have one of the four points facing away from you(so that it is the shape of a diamond). Next, scoop 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the center of the wrapper and add a "good pinch"of cilantro and cabbage to the roll. A word of caution... during the test phase of this recipe I put way too much filling in and they were the size of a small burrito, so don't do that. Less is more, right?
Time for rolling my friends! Using your index finger or a pastry brush, wipe the edges of the wrapper with water, this will help seal everything inside once it's rolled. Roll the wrapper forward to cover the filling and then fold in both sides while continuing to roll over. Once the rolls are assembled, they can either be refrigerated or are ready to fry. If you're going to keep them in the fridge until cooking later on, I suggest having a layer of parchment paper down on a plate or pan first, so that they don't stick to the sheet pan.
If you have a deep fryer, great, and if not, no sweat because 2 inches of hot oil in a pot will work just fine. Bring the oil up to temperature, somewhere between 385-400(f) degrees and drop a few of the rolls in at a time. You might have a few that tend to have an air pocket and so you might need to push these around to make sure that all sides are cooking evenly. Once golden, about 5 minutes, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to rest.
Serve alongside a cold beer, some queso and some hot sauce.