Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Hunting!

Today is opening day for archery season in my home state of Montana. As it happens, I went out to look for whitetail deer but all I brought home was a small Ruffed Grouse, which is one in the group of mountain grouse (others are Blue Grouse and Franklin's Grouse). I'm certainly grateful for the grouse. It will make for a delicious meal, but more on that later.

First I want to introduce my blog. Cooked Animals is here simply to inspire and educate the home cook/chef and hunter. When my father taught me to hunt, he also taught me that we eat what we kill. Never was hunting about taking a trophy animal.

My parents also instilled in me a reverence for living off the land. We grew gardens, picked and canned fruit, and made various butters, sauces and spreads. Many of these tasks I still perform today, and I will share what knowledge I have.

And my family feasted, often. We invited friends and relatives over for meals so grand that it seemed that no one had room for a plate on the table. It is for these reasons and more that I am starting this blog.

The recipes, stories and reviews I contribute here have all inspired me in some way. I will write (as much as I can) from firsthand (or near firsthand) experience. Don't worry, I have many professional chef friends!

I look forward to hearing from you, the reader, as well. Ask questions. Tell your own stories. Share your opinions. If you're curious about something, ask and I'll try to find the answer. Most of all, try the recipes and let me know how they worked out.

Speaking of, here's the first recipe I give to you. It's also the first recipe for grouse I ever prepared. Be careful, it's rich!


Mountain Grouse Marsala
4 Tbl flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 medium to large grouse, cut into serving-size pieces
5 Tbl butter
4 Tbl minced white onion
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp rosemary, fresh
1 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken broth

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and dredge the grouse in the mixture.

Melt butter in a large skillet (cast iron if you have one) over med-high heat. Brown the grouse on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove grouse and set aside.

Add onion, mushrooms, rosemary, lemon zest and 1 Tbl of dredging flour to the skillet and saute for 7-8 minutes. Whisk in marsala wine and chicken broth and stir until thickened.

Return grouse to skillet and cook for about 15 minutes. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Works wonderfully served over pasta or rice. (Serves 2)

Recipe adapted from Rocky Mountain Gourmet Cookbook.

*P.S. If you want to learn more about Ruffed Grouse conservation efforts, visit the Ruffed Grouse Society's Web site.

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