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Grouse/ wood cock recipes for the traveling hunter

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It seems that, whenever we go hunting, we are always in motels or B&B's.These recipes were born of neccesity and a lack of true culinary resources, but have endured. Either one can be prepared on a portable coleman stove /hibachi/farmers wife's stove, cheap piece of crap you buy at Walmart etc. Both are delicious, uncomplicated and allow for the true taste of the bird.

1. Roasted and/or Panfried Grouse with apples and maple syrup.

Pluck your birds if you have the patience. They WILL be moister and taste better with the skin on. I know,..it's a pain in the ass to pluck BUT it is WORTH it. Pick apples, especially, the tart knarled ones you find during the day. If you don't hunt near or in old overgrown orchards , I really pity you, but store bought apples will be almost as good . Stuff a wild apple up that bird's keister with a pat of butter. Roast hot and covered under foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and pour in 1/2 cup of local maple syrup. If you can't find local maple syrup where you hunt, consider hunting elswhere you poor wretched thing. Roast an additional 20 minutes uncovered and just add a little salt, butter and more syrup. The bird juices/syrup/butter and apples will reduce to a thin tart/sweet gravy.If you don't overcook, the birds should be slightly pink inside. This recipe tastes even better if you can find a local farmer's wife to bake you an apple pie with a lard crust. It tastes even better when you eat it in your underwear, dog tired in your motel room with the pup on the bed with you.

Saute'd Woodcock Cognac Flambe':

But it is, without a doubt, a classic and simple French recipe that has been lost to American hunters. I'm not crazy about the French, but they are masters at the art of game cooking. Better yet, you can make it on the road and still eat it in your skivvies while the dogs drool and the ball game is on. Again, this one can be made on a coleman stove or the little old lady's stove at the fleabag dive you are staying in.

After the hunt, stop by a local grocery and pick up some flour or pancacke mix, toothpicks, bacon, butter, onion, coffee and Henessey cognac. Please pluck your woodcock for this one, but if you didn't it will still be almost as good.

Wash and pat dry the bird and/or breast. Dust that puppy in flour/pancake mix. Wrap the whole bird/breast with a strip of bacon and a wedge of onion. Saute' in a skillet until the bacon is just turning brown (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and pour in 1/2 cup of cognac, a little sugar or maple syrup and touch a lighter/match to the edge of the pan. BE CAREFUL! The cognac will ignite and burn down till the alcohol is gone. Cover the skillet and let simmer for another 8 minutes. You will be left with a sweet reduction of woodcock juices infused with cognac. Remove and serve . The birds should be medium rare at this point. Simmer longer if desired .

PS. Don't forget that you still have pancake mix, syrup, butter, apples ,bacon and coffee left over. Basically, all you need the next morning.... Good hunting.

PC

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mister grouse
when I have oven access I can do some great things with birds; but seldom on a road trip do you get that full kitchen or oven access.  Thus, like Partridge, I have gone to a small picnic charcoal grill approach and carry it in the truck.(these can be thrown away at end of trip if necessary--the five dollard round picnic grills about 15 inches across).  Here is the dinner  my friends insist we have about every night when we are in the no-oven scenario:  Simply breasting and legging most game birds and bacon-wrapping the pieces(candy stripe pieces with bacon, season, secure with toothpicks or wood splinters)  for a quick grilling over a very hot charcoal fire. If you are very careful to remove tendons and silver meat from breast pieces they will be much better; also de-bone thighs by removing "femur above knee" but leave thigh meat on the leg.   Somebody has to watch the cooking though as you an overcook the birds if not carefully monitored. Microwave some Stouffer veggies or pasta and you can eat in ten minutes and , frankly, have a meal that is incredibly tasty.  Plus you  have pieces for lunch the next day in your vest.  fwiw

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