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Kitchen Confidential

Missoula's best-kept dining secret doubles as a training ground for aspiring gourmets



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Thomas Campbell Campbell, 54, grew up in an Air Force family (his first job, while still a teenager, was at the Officer’s Club) before settling in Seattle, where he worked for 17 years before attending the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which he graduated from in 1990. His CIA internship was with esteemed New York City chef Gray Kunz at the Peninsula Hotel. Drawn to Missoula for the usual reasons (fishing, hunting, family in the area), Campbell took over the culinary arts program in 2002.

Thomas Campbell - PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER
Home Cooking “Oh yeah. I get called on to do holiday meals. I usually joke, ‘Good thing I didn’t train to be a proctologist.’”

Recipe Cider-Braised Sharptail Grouse with Natural Sauce As a chef, a hunter and a Montanan, this recipe has become a personal favorite for Campbell. It’s a simple preparation meant to bring out the superb taste of the meat.

Ingredients 2 whole wild grouse 1 gallon apple cider 1 yellow onion, fine diced 2 jumbo carrots, fine diced 4 ribs celery, fine diced 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 ounces canola oil salt and pepper to taste

1. Split the grouse and wash them completely. 2. Season by rubbing with salt and white pepper. 3. Heat oil in large sauté pan. 4. Sear the grouse halves on both sides before placing them in a roasting pan. 5. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the sauté pan and return to the heat. 6. Brown the vegetables lightly, then deglaze the pan with cider. 7. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all flavors and ingredients that may have stuck. 8. Pour the contents into the roasting pan with the grouse and cover tightly. 9. Cook at 300 degrees for approximately 60–90 minutes. 10. Remove the birds from the roasting pan and keep warm. 11. Puree the pan juice and vegetables in a food processor or blender. 12. Strain and return the liquid to the roasting pan and continue to heat on the stove top until it reduces to a medium consistency. 13. Whisk in whole butter. 14. To serve, pour the sauce on a plate and arrange the grouse over the sauce. Drizzle with additional sauce. Delicious when served with wild rice. Serves four

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