Monday, February 21, 2011

Baking Game Birds

I wanted to do a quick post on what I made Thursday night's dinner: game birds. 

When my husband got our four wheeler it opened up a whole new world to him in regard to hunting birds. Before that he'd take small trips to find flocks of ptarmigan to shoot but there are spruce hen and ducks all around us out here.
Some of the guys on a local hunting excursion. I believe these are Grouse but I really don't remember.

In my daughter's shot gun club (Grouse Ridge Rangers) they sometimes have sponsored shoots out at the Falcon Ridge located out Point MacKenzie Rd. He sells chukars (chukar partridge) and pheasants for them to shoot and she brought home 2 of each last year.

My husband had asked if he was wasting his time since he's the only one who had cooked any of the meat so far (ptarmigan nuggets, YUM!) and so I told him to give me some recipes so I'd have an idea. My sister makes these for her family all the time, but I have ventured into this. He printed out 9 pages of recipes.

On Thursday I took about half of our game birds out of the freezer to cook so that we could try them all with the same cooking method and see what we like best. I made a duck, two pheasants, two chukars, and 3 spruce hen. I put rice on the bottom of the 9x13 pans and put a nice Chinese bbq sauce over them, added water to the rice and baked them at 350 for about 2 hours. The recipes I was looking at for game birds varied all over the place from cooking for 20 minutes to 4 hours, so I tried somewhere in between. I put them into the oven and left for 2 hours. When I came home they were cooked, a bit dry (should have added more water and covered tighter) and gobbled them up with the fam. Since there were so many my husband picked the meat off and I cooked the carcases overnight and made a broth (no fat!) and used the extra meat for fried rice and dumplings.

Baked Barbecued Game Birds:

(feeds ~4 people)
1 1/2 c. rice
2-3 birds whole, thawed

1/4 c soy sauce
2 garlic cloves-minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp Five Spice powder (if you double the recipe, don't add quite as much spice)
2 TBS oil

Wash and dry birds. Mix marinade, rub birds inside and out, let stand for an hour (I didn't have time for this, still good).
Grease 9x13 casserole dish or a dutch oven, pour in rice. Add 3 cups of water, or a bit more if using foil or a loose lid to cover. Arrange birds on top, add more marinade to birds. Cover tightly.
Bake at 350 for ~2 hours. Add more marinade during the cooking if you have more. Check your rice and add water if needed.

Here's a link to my basic Roasted Chicken recipe. I use it for roosters, hens, meat chickens and game birds too. I almost like it better because the 5spice powder is so distinct, you have to be choosy on what recipes to use with the leftovers.

pheasant pair, light meat, tastes like chicken, medium size closer to small chicken

chukar partradge, light meat, tastes like chicken, small in size

spruce hen (or grouse, not sure of difference) dark meat, tastes like chicken, small in size

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