Thanksgiving Reflections

Let’s tell it like it is—2020 has been tough. The onX community is a close one, and we’ve felt the impacts of this unprecedented situation from friends around the country. But as we gather for Thanksgiving, either virtually or in person, let’s not lose sight of the good moments we’ve experienced this year.

Let’s take a day to celebrate and reflect on the good things in our lives. New realities forced new habits and schedules, often bringing more time spent with family and close friends. For many, this was the season in which a child took their first deer or tagged along on their first hunt. Some of us mentored new hunters, and some of us punched a tag on a hunt we’ve dreamed about for years. Some of us are already planning next year’s adventures.

On the conservation front, we’ve seen the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that has helped ensure outdoor access throughout the country. And the introduction of the MAPLand Act, a plan to digitize the paper maps that detail access and easements, is a solid step toward more access for all of us and clearer information about where we can recreate.

So use this day to slow down, take a breath, and reflect on all the things that bring you joy and hope. Remember the good things in your life, and find inspiration in the people and places you love. To help get you started, we’ve included the recipe for one of Steven Rinella’s favorite comfort foods, Turkey and Wild Rice Soup, below.

Even in a year like this, remember that there’s plenty to be thankful for.

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MeatEater’s Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

MeatEater's Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

From MeatEater Wild Foods Contributing Editor Danielle Prewett: “As an upland hunter, my favorite Thanksgiving tradition is to roast a couple of whole pheasants. I save meat from the thighs and shred it to create a delicious pheasant and wild rice soup. Whether you have pheasant or turkey on your table this year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to enjoy those leftovers. Pan frying the shredded meat in butter just before serving is what makes this recipe extra special. This critical step creates rich flavors and a crunchy texture to compliment the creamyness of the soup.”

  • Preheat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, drop in 1T butter. When the butter foams, add the onions and saute until soft. Add the carrots and celery, then cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for one minute or until fragrant.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Squeeze in lemon juice and add the chicken stock, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the pot.
  • Season with Gnome on the Range Mushroom Blend and fresh thyme. Stir in the wild rice.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the pot simmer for 30 minutes. The rice should almost be cooked through, and the liquid should be slightly reduced.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Taste and adjust with extra seasoning if needed.
  • When the soup is almost ready to serve, heat a separate frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and fry the shredded turkey for a couple minutes on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pan—work in batches if necessary to ensure that the meat is brown and crispy.
  • Serve the soup with a heap of the fried turkey on top and garnish with chopped celery leaves.
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Christian Fichtel

Christian Fichtel arrived at onX with a deep background in bird hunting, fly fishing and outdoor writing. He has traveled the Caribbean in pursuit of bonefish and followed dogs in some of the country’s best upland habitat, publishing stories and poems along the way.