Thursday, November 26, 2009

the day we Eat!

Here are my quick turkey cooking tips.

- Buy a Heritage Breed Bird
- Brine if you can
- Basting and Stuffing are evil!! (I know mom does..but it doesn't make it right)
- Watch a you tube video on trussing and tie that bird up
- Smear butter under the skin of the breasts
- Cook on the bottom rack of your oven
- Start the cooking at 500 degrees for 30 minutes
- Make a breast shield out of aluminum foil (think triangle shape)
- Put this shield on and turn your oven down to 350 degrees
- Plan on cooking 10-12 minutes per pound
- Best way to check doneness is a thermometer
- This thermometer should read 161
- Let it have its time to rest... 20 minutes (it's a big bird)

Here are a few photos from the Turkey 101 class I taught at Whole Foods last week. I hope everyone loves their bird this holiday!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Partridge in a Pear Tree

I just taught a Turkey 101 class and I'm feelin' the holiday spirit..
So for the last of my game bird posts I thought I'd finish with a holiday bird we sing about, but more than likely have never tasted.

What's this business about a bird in a pear tree?
Well.. the partridge in the pear tree refers to the one and only..
Jesus Christ.

Right... well let's talk about eating it.
So as I've said in every game bird post, darker lean meat means roasting with an introduction of some sort of fat.
Bacon is a given but try getting caul fat from your butcher and wrapping it around the bird before you roast it.

Last year I made Partridge Paprikash using the same method as chicken, it was great! In fact this is a good stewing bird.

I'm off to central Wisconsin in the morning to go deer hunting!
First time, little scary.. I'll report back.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Continuing with game birds it's on to Pheasant.

A native to China..they were brought to Europe and prized for their exotic beauty and tasty meat.
The right to shoot them in Britain was reserved to the upper class.
They like eating bugs and seeds.. but foxes and raccoons like to eat them.

The boys are the ones with the beautiful looks!

One of the more mild game birds, there's so much you can do with pheasant..

It can be a little tough depending on its age, and like all game it's going to be lean. SO introducing fat (especially to the breast) is something you should consider.

You can roast them or braise them.. make a soup, salad, or terrine!
Get a pheasant from a hunting friend (just watch out for the bullet.. ouch!) or go to a specialty food store or buy online!

oh- rumor says that Yankee Doodle put a Pheasant feather in his hat and called it Macaroni!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grouse... gross?

Talking to a friend the other day about Grouse made me think about the unpopularity of game birds in the US.
Since this is prime game bird season I thought I'd write a few posts about them... starting with Grouse.

Granted its been a few years since I've eaten or cooked one.. I remember it having a strong, dark, gamey taste.
I should note the grouse I ate was shot wild!

The rule is, when you eat a wild animal it always tastes way different than the same farm raised animal.
The reasons being that the wild animals are usually migratory, have a very different diet and are much more active.

Most farmed grouse in America are raised in the Dakota's (true of most game birds), and are a breed called Ruffed Grouse.

They weigh right about a in the forest and love to eat pine needles, berries, and buds!
In order to process all the grit they're getting with their food from the forest floor they usually have big gizzards and long intestines.
So its really important to make sure they're washed properly inside and out.

Since these guys are small and have very little fat on them, I would recommend roasting them with bacon covering the breast, making sure not to overcook them.
Or just remove the breast (since there's not much other meat) and sear it medium rare. You can use the remainder of the bird to make a great sauce for the breasts.

thanks for the image!