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Chef's Kitchen

Each month, a guest chef gives us a tip that elevates their cooking or simplifies things in the kitchen; something a home cook might not know. They also provide a recipe that uses the tip, so you can practice at home. Our guest chef this month is Executive Chef Kevin Davis of Canyon River Grill in Ellensburg, Washington. The Grill is located inside Canyon River Ranch in the Yakima Canyon. The Ranch includes suites in the lodge, right on the river, as well as cabins, and is a fishing and hunting wonderland. Kevin uses the freshest local ingredients to create unforgettably-flavored dishes.

Kevin grew up with one set of grandparents in New Orleans and one in New Mexico. He apprenticed in France, and has cooked in Louisiana, Australia, Napa, Florida, and Seattle. No wonder he is able to make the familiar look and taste brand new. Always wanting to cook where he could also be near his obsessions-fishing, hunting, foraging-he has found his place at Canyon River Grill. He has fished in the area since 1999, and in 2009 helped open the Grill. In 2020, he returned to make the kitchen his own.

Attention to detail takes your dish to the next level, by Executive Chef Kevin Davis

In the recipe below, there are several steps you can take to ensure the best flavor.

  • When using wild game, it's critical to chase the shot: you don't want anyone biting into a pellet. That's why I cut the breasts thin and hold them up to the light.
  • Fileting the breast allows for even cooking.
  • I use an 80/20 mix of high-quality olive oil/canola oil for my blended oil.
  • Using dry mushrooms is important. If they're wet, store them in the refrigerator until they are dry.
  • Make sure to add liquid from the pasta water to the sauce and put wet pasta in (don't drain). It makes the sauce looser, then you can cook it down. You want the pasta to absorb the sauce, so it's in the pasta, not around it.

Sautéed Wild Chukar Tagliatelle with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Roasted Butternut Squash

Serves 2


  • 2 chukar breasts (or you can use duck, pheasant or chicken), bones and skin removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Blended olive oil, for cooking and drizzling
  • 1 cup wild mushrooms
  •  ½ cup diced butternut squash, sautéed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 leaves fresh sage, finely sliced
  • Splash white wine
  • 4 ounces Demi-glace, or chicken bone broth
  • Fresh pasta (or dry fettuccini), cooked
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese


1. With a sharp knife, slice horizontally through the thickest part of the Chukar breast, butterfly out and lay flat. Dust with salt and fresh ground pepper on all sides. Dip into a lightly seasoned flour to coat.

2. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a sauté pan over high heat to just near smoke point. Add Chukar and cook until golden brown, about a minute on each side. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add mushrooms to hot pan with the pan juices, adding a bit more oil if too dry. Cook on high heat, tossing, until just starting to soften. Add cooked squash, toss a few times, then add garlic and sage. Toss over the heat to warm through for a minute, then, holding vegetables back, tip liquid from pan.

4. Deglaze hot pan with a splash of white wine, return to heat. Add more pepper to taste, then ladle in the demi-glace. Turn down heat and add fresh pasta to boiling water (if using dried pasta, have it cooked already).

5. Julienne the chukar breast, add to the vegetables and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Just before serving add butter and orange zest, stir through, then add pasta with a tablespoon or two of the pasta water. Sprinkle on a tablespoon or two of the parmesan and toss together.

6. Serve straight away topped with more freshly shredded parmesan.


  • If wild mushrooms aren't available, shitakes work well.
  • Any root vegetable can be used if you don't have butternut squash.
  • This recipe loves greens: escarole, broccoli rabe.

Click here to watch a video of Chef Kevin making this dish

Canyon River Grill
14700 Hwy 821 near mile marker 15
Ellensburg, WA 98926

January 2021

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