Hunting For Game Bird Recipes

Monday Morning Post

If your hunter is bringing home the bacon, here's a delicious way to cook any game bird whether it's squab, pigeon, partridge, quail or dove.

Wild game birds have little, if any, fat.  Butter and bacon in this recipe add flavor and moisture to the meat. The bacon is blanched (cooked briefly in water) to remove the strong bacon taste which would hide the unique flavor of the birds.

Oven Roasted Wild Game Birds with Port Wine Demi Glaze

Allow one whole bird per person.  Use squab, pigeon, partridge, quail or dove.
No hunters in your family?   Most up scale grocery stores carry frozen game birds.

Serves 6 (one bird per person)
Use a roasting pan with sides no higher than 2 inches (Taller sides may be require longer cooking time.)

Roasting the Birds

6 slices bacon (cut in half crosswise)
6 (each 10 to 12 oz) game birds (cleaned and ready for cooking)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 shallot (finely minced - about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons - divided)
Basting Mixture - 3 tablespoon melted butter plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (not olive)

Position oven rack so birds will roast in center. Preheat to 400 degrees.  Coat roasting pan with cooking spray for easy clean up.  Do not grease pan.

Put the bacon into a small skillet and cover with tap water.  Bring to a boil on high.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse blanched bacon under running tepid tap water.  Drain well.  Set aside.

Toss the salt, shallot and tarragon together.  Season the cavities of the birds with the mixture, dividing evenly.

Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into 6 equal pieces and put one piece into each cavity.  Pat the birds dry with paper towels and place into prepared roasting pan.

Using your hands, rub the breasts, legs and wings of the birds with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. (Soften slightly in microwave, if necessary but do not melt.)  Drape 2 (half slices) of the blanched bacon over the top of each bird. Brush bird and bacon with basting mixture.

Place birds into oven.  Roast, brushing with additional basting mixture every 10 minutes, until done.  When the birds are done, sprinkle lightly with salt and place on a warm serving platter.  Set platter in the turned off oven with the door slightly open to keep them warm while making the sauce.

Roasting times: All roasting times are approximate according to the size of the bird you're cooking. The bird is done when the juices run clear and there is no red blood near the bone.

Squab, pigeons, or doves - 15 to 20 minutes
Partridge or quail - 30 to 40 minutes

Port Wine Demi Glaze
A demi glaze is a sauce that's been reduced to thicken it rather than being thickened by adding corn starch or flour.  The flavor of a reduction is concentrated and upscale.

1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 1/2 cups game or beef stock
1/4 cup port wine (other wines not recommended)
1 tablespoon butter (softened)

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan.  Discard the removed fat or save for another use.  Add the shallots to the fat remaining in the pan.

Put the roasting pan on top of the stove across 1 or two of the burners according to the size of the pan.  Cook the shallots on low, stirring, for 1 minute.

Whisk in the stock and port.  Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, whisking to loosen all the browned bits from the pan and incorporating them into the liquid.  Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture evaporates and reduces to about 1/2 cup.  Remove pan from the heat and whisk in butter.  Spoon the sauce over the birds and serve.


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