A celebration of wild game

November 13, 2009 (NORRIDGE, Ill.) Edelweiss in Norridge is gearing up for its annual ode to all things wild where the menu is a perfect match to all of that great German beer on tap.

This time of year, things are usually winding down at Edelweiss, a reliable German restaurant in Norridge. Octoberfest celebrations are over, and you'd think it's back to schnitzel. But mid-November is when they gear up for Hunter's Fest -- a celebration of wild game.

"The old owner Ursula had some customers that came and wanted some wild game so she started the Hunter's Fest," said Mark Stockdreher, general manager, Edelweiss.

It's not everyday, nor every place, you can get your hands on some hasenpheffer, that is, rabbit. Brined in a mixture of red wine, celery, carrots and onions, it's dusted in flour, then sauteed in oil, along with scallions and mushrooms, before being placed in the oven to pan-roast. Once cooked through, it's served with hearty bread dumplings and red cabbage, draped in a rich rabbit stock.

Wild boar chops are also brined to keep them moist. They're then roasted, and served alongside potatoes, topped with caramelized apples and red onions. It seems the heartier, the better.

"It's a great success for us because we get many, many people coming in, and they just go wild for the wild game," Stockdreher said.

Leg of venison is grilled, plated with the usual suspects of sauerkraut, red cabbage and spaetzle. A deep, dark wild mushroom sauce coats the venison.

Goulash is another form the venison can take, and pheasant veronique has a sauceless presentation along with wild rice. The dishes are only on the menu for a short time, which is part of the reason they attract a loyal following for the nine days of the Fest.

"Well, it's a unique opportunity, because you can't get this kind of food anywhere else you know, you can go to any other German restaurant in the city and you can get the sauerbraten and wienerschnitzel, but you can't get during this time of year wild boar and hasenpfeffer and pheasant at any other place but here at the Edelweiss," said Stockdreher.

The hunter's fest runs at Edelweiss through Sunday, November 22nd.

7650 W. Irving Pk. Rd., Norridge

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