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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Searching for the Perfect French Baguette

East Town Tosa, French Baguette, Pheasant Wild Rice Soup, Rocket Baby Bakery

For the last month I have been searching for a locally-sourced authentic French baguette.  And I have been coming-up on the short end of the loaf in terms of success.

Until today.

I just got back last night from a South Dakota pheasant hunt.  Today I tackled unpacking, laundry, the day job, repacking for deer camp and getting the vehicle cleaned of all the dirt and dog hair. The $23 Ultimate Wash at Wash Brite Full Service Auto Center and Car Wash was just the trick.  Driving away in my sparkling truck (with new car smellum) I thought I better check-out Rocket Baby to see if they might have a fresh baguette.  With as cold as it's been I was looking forward to a steaming bowl of my own homemade pheasant and wild rice soup tonight.  The perfect accompaniment would be a crusty French bread.

May I help you?

I would like one French baguette, please.

Just one?  Would you care for something to go with it?  Perhaps a side?

Nope.  Just the baguette.  Since my trip to France I've been on a mission for a baguette that matches what I grew accustomed to over there.

Well, I've never been to France, we're told our baguettes are very good.

$3 changed hands and turning to leave with my carefully wrapped baguette under arm I said - We'll see.  If it's the real deal you can count on me returning for more.  Regularly.

Placing my bakery on the passenger seat (blissfully free of all the dog hair) I continued east to O'Reilly Auto Parts.  Wiper blades were on my mind.

Just a short while ago I dished-up a bowl of not so very heart-healthy soup and sliced some chunks from my big French bread stick.

Bingo!

The Rocket Baby baguette nailed it.  Crusty with a soft, chewy center - this was it.  The real deal.  While the search continues at least the pressure is off.  And my soup was excellent too.

Pheasant Wild Rice Soup

3 – South Dakota pheasants (de boned and cut into pieces)

3 – 32 oz. cartons low sodium chicken stock

2 – Sticks of butter

2 – Garden onions (chopped)

2C – Celery (chopped)

18oz – Wild rice

1pt – Heavy cream

Flour

Easy recipe made easier if you spread the work over a couple of days.

Cook the wild rice until done, strain and set aside. Adding some concentrated chicken base to the rice while cooking will give you a great end result.

Sauté the onions and celery in 4T of butter and set aside.

Sauté the pheasant in 4T of butter and set aside.

Combine the pheasant and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook slowly for 40 minutes. In a large stock pot melt the remaining stick of butter and add a cup of flour (give or take) to make a thick roux. Add the onions, celery and wild rice to the pot. Add the pheasant, stock and cream. Bring to a slow boil while stirring regularly. Simmer another hour.

Serve with an authentic French baguette.  Salt and pepper to taste. Even better if you reheat the soup after sitting in the fridge for a couple of days.

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