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Western hunters share their recipes for game birds.

Western hunters share their recipes for game birds

More tender, more predictable in flavor, and often larger than their wild counterparts, farm-raised game birds--quail, pheasant, and mallard ducks--have the added advantage of being available year-round. Recipes for both wild and farmraised birds can be used interchangeably; in these three recipes, we give preparation methods for both types of birds.

You can order the farm-raised birds from your meat department; they are usually frozen but are sometimes available fresh in the fall. These birds tend to be expensive --as much as four to five times as much per pound as chicken. Check prices before placing an order, and order well in advance.

For all birds, breasts are most succulent if cooked quickly to rare; legs of farm-raised pheasant benefit from long, moist heat.

The weights in these recipes are for dressed birds.

Sherry-Orange Barbecued Duck

12 wild or farm-raised boned mallard duck breast halves (about 3 oz. each, skinned); or 4 or 6 wild or farm-raised mallard ducks (about 2 lb. each), cut up (directions follow)

3/4 cup soy sauce

1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

Wine sauce (recipe follows)

With a fork, pierce duck pieces all over.

In a large, heavy plastic bag, mix soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, wine, and Worcestershire. Add duck; push air out of bag, seal bag, and place in a bowl. Chill at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Lift duck from marinade; reserve liquid, saving 1 1/2 cups for wine sauce. Place duck on a barbecue grill set 4 to 6 inches over a solid bed of hot coals (you should be able to hold your hand at grill level no longer than 2 to 3 seconds). Cook, basting with remaining marinade and turning to brown lightly. For rare duck, cook until red in center (cut to test), about 7 minutes for legs, 5 minutes for breasts. For mediumrare, cook until pinkish red in center (cut to test), about 9 minutes for legs, 7 minutes for breasts. Extinguish any flames with a spray of water.

Accompany duck with wine sauce. Makes 4 or 6 servings.--Mike and Vicki Riedel, Ketchum, Idaho.

Cut-up duck. To disjoint duck and bone breasts, first force legs and wings back from hip and shoulder joints until they pop in sockets. With a small sharp knife, cut legs free at hip and wings free at shoulder. Holding knife tip against breast bone, slide knife around and under each breast half to cut meat free. Pull and cut skin from breast. If desired, reserve carcass, skin, and wings for broth.

Wine sauce. In a 3- to 4-quart pan on medium-high heat, cook 1 cup finely chopped onion in 2 tablespoons salad oil just until brown at edges, about 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups reserved marinade (preceding). Mix 1/2 cup cream sherry and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch; add to pan. Stir on high heat until boiling. If made ahead, set aside up to 1 hour, then reheat to continue. Stir in 2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil.

Quail with Chipotle Chilies

Browned quail (directions follow)

Shoestring tortillas (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies in adobado sauce, minced

1/2 cup regular-strength chicken broth

About 3/4 cup sour cream

Sliced green onion


Heat pan of browned quail in a 500| oven until birds are hot, about 7 minutes; centers of breasts should be pink to red (cut to test).

Divide shoestring tortillas equally between 4 dinner plates. Stir together chipotle chilies, chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of the sour cream. Spoon about 2 tablespoons sauce on each plate. Set 3 birds in or beside sauce; spoon a dollop of sour cream on side. Garnish with onion. Accompany with remaining sauce. Dip birds and tortillas in sauce as you eat them with your fingers; add salt to taste. Serves 4.

Browned quail. Rinse and pat dry 12 quail (2 1/2 to 4 oz. each).

Pour 1 tablespoon salad oil into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan on high heat. Fill pan with birds, without crowding. Lightly brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed.

Remove from pan as browned and add remaining birds as space permits. If oil scorches, wipe from pan with a paper towel and add more salad oil, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Set birds, breast up, in a rimmed 10- by 15-inch baking pan. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day. Let birds warm to room temperature to continue.

Shoestring tortillas. Stack 8 corn tortillas (6 to 7 in.) and cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips. In a deep 3- to 4-quart pan, heat 1 inch salad oil to 375| on a thermometer. Fry a handful of strips at a time, stirring until crisp, about 1 minute. Lift out with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. If made ahead, store airtight up to overnight.

Pheasant in Horseradish Cream

2 farm-raised pheasants or 4 wild pheasants (about 2 1/2 lb. each)

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

3/4 cup dry white wine


3 large onions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 piece (about 1 1/4-in. cube) fresh horseradish, peeled and diced

Chopped parsley


Cut up each farm-raised pheasant, following directions preceding for cut-up duck.

If you have wild birds, use breasts only. Legs tend to be too tough to be enjoyable; reserve them, wings, carcass, and skin, if desired, for broth.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add farm-raised pheasant legs and brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes on each side; add wine, cover, and simmer until meat is tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. Lift legs from pan; keep warm. Skim and discard fat. Measure liquid; if less than 1/3 cup, add water to make this amount.

Meanwhile, melt 2 more tablespoons butter in another 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pheasant breasts to pan, without crowding. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned but still very pink in center (cut to test), about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a shallow 2- to 2 1/2-quart casserole; let stand at room temperature.

Add onions to pan used for breasts; cook on medium heat, stirring often, until onions just begin to brown, about 30 minutes; keep warm.

Place breasts in a 350| oven and bake uncovered until hot, but still pink in center (cut to test), about 10 minutes. Add legs and onions to pan and keep warm.

If you cook breasts only, add wine to onions in pan. Boil on high heat, uncovered, until reduced to 1/3 cup; stir often. In a blender, whirl 1/3 cup liquid, sour cream, and horseradish until smooth. Pour into onion pan; stir over high heat just until warm. Pour sauce over pheasant; sprinkle with parsley. Season with salt. Serves 4.

Photo: Western hunter Mike Riedel pierces wild duck breasts so marinade will penetrate. He barbecues them quickly, then serves

Photo: Tiny pan-browned quail go with crisp tortilla fries, chipotle chile and sour cream sauce
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Oct 1, 1986
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