Magazine article Sunset

Western Hunters Share Their Recipes for Game Birds

Magazine article Sunset

Western Hunters Share Their Recipes for Game Birds

Article excerpt

Western hunters share their recipes for game birds

More tender, more predictable in flavor, and often larger than their wild counterparts, farm-raised game birds--quail, pheasant, and mallard ducks--have the added advantage of being available year-round. Recipes for both wild and farmraised birds can be used interchangeably; in these three recipes, we give preparation methods for both types of birds.

You can order the farm-raised birds from your meat department; they are usually frozen but are sometimes available fresh in the fall. These birds tend to be expensive --as much as four to five times as much per pound as chicken. Check prices before placing an order, and order well in advance.

For all birds, breasts are most succulent if cooked quickly to rare; legs of farm-raised pheasant benefit from long, moist heat.

The weights in these recipes are for dressed birds.

Sherry-Orange Barbecued Duck

12 wild or farm-raised boned mallard duck breast halves (about 3 oz. each, skinned); or 4 or 6 wild or farm-raised mallard ducks (about 2 lb. each), cut up (directions follow)

3/4 cup soy sauce

1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

Wine sauce (recipe follows)

With a fork, pierce duck pieces all over.

In a large, heavy plastic bag, mix soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, wine, and Worcestershire. Add duck; push air out of bag, seal bag, and place in a bowl. Chill at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Lift duck from marinade; reserve liquid, saving 1 1/2 cups for wine sauce. Place duck on a barbecue grill set 4 to 6 inches over a solid bed of hot coals (you should be able to hold your hand at grill level no longer than 2 to 3 seconds). Cook, basting with remaining marinade and turning to brown lightly. For rare duck, cook until red in center (cut to test), about 7 minutes for legs, 5 minutes for breasts. For mediumrare, cook until pinkish red in center (cut to test), about 9 minutes for legs, 7 minutes for breasts. Extinguish any flames with a spray of water.

Accompany duck with wine sauce. Makes 4 or 6 servings.--Mike and Vicki Riedel, Ketchum, Idaho.

Cut-up duck. To disjoint duck and bone breasts, first force legs and wings back from hip and shoulder joints until they pop in sockets. With a small sharp knife, cut legs free at hip and wings free at shoulder. Holding knife tip against breast bone, slide knife around and under each breast half to cut meat free. Pull and cut skin from breast. If desired, reserve carcass, skin, and wings for broth.

Wine sauce. In a 3- to 4-quart pan on medium-high heat, cook 1 cup finely chopped onion in 2 tablespoons salad oil just until brown at edges, about 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups reserved marinade (preceding). Mix 1/2 cup cream sherry and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch; add to pan. Stir on high heat until boiling. If made ahead, set aside up to 1 hour, then reheat to continue. Stir in 2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil.

Quail with Chipotle Chilies

Browned quail (directions follow)

Shoestring tortillas (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies in adobado sauce, minced

1/2 cup regular-strength chicken broth

About 3/4 cup sour cream

Sliced green onion

Salt

Heat pan of browned quail in a 500| oven until birds are hot, about 7 minutes; centers of breasts should be pink to red (cut to test).

Divide shoestring tortillas equally between 4 dinner plates. …

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