The Beauty of Duck Hunting

I enjoy Duck Hunting, but my culture is different from the majority of “Hunters” out there. I eat ALL of the duck, including livers, gizzards, kidneys, hearts, etc – ZERO WASTAGE.  There are so many wonderful recipes and the 11 ducks I harvested today can supply many a delicious meal for family and friends. I hunted for three hours only, then stopped, as I had enough – the rest of the “Hunters” were still busy making war and will do so for many hours and days to come, then throw away most, if not all, the wonderful food. I understand there is a duck shortage in the Northern Island this year – I AM NOT SURPRISED.

Lepre al Limone di Domenico

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We decided to take a few hares before the newly released virus gets to them. After cleaning them well and ageing in the fridge for some days, it was time to taste.

Lepre al Limone ( Rabbit with Lemon )

  • 1 Hare
  • Half a cup of flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Three tablespoons of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Two table spoons of butter
  • One handful of garlic
  • One fresh hot chili
  • 2 Small fresh lemons
  • Good stock
  • Heat the oven to 200 C.

Cut the rabbit into portions and dry very well with paper napkins. Mix the flour, salt and pepper and dust the rabbit very well. Heat a cast iron or heavy based pan that can fit all the rabbit pieces, add two table spoons of good olive oil, shake off the flour and fry the rabbit until well browned.  When the rabbit is golden, transfer the the pieces to a roasting pan. Add one tablespoon of butter and place in the centre  the oven. Discard the contents of the frying pan and wipe clean. While the rabbit is roasting in the oven,  add one table spoon of butter and one tablespoon of  olive oil to the cleaned pan. Add a handful of fresh garlic and as much chili as you can take,  some whole fresh lemons cut into pieces (I was fortunate to have harvested some small sweet lemons from my tree the day before) and cook on low heat until the garlic is translucent before adding the contents of the pan to the hare in the roasting pan.  Baste and turn the hare often and keep moist with good stock – about a spoon full  at a time, adding stock when the hare appears too dry.  Don’t add too much stock at a time, you never want to poach the hare    (again I had very good stock on hand from pigeons I cooked the day before). Depending on the age of the hares it may take  up to an hour before they are tender, but remember to keep it moist and toss frequently.

Enjoy with your favorite starch (we had potatoes and spinach from the garden)

Never forget the good home made wine. I tried the new cherry wine for the first time and Mrs BYF the new Rhubarb wine.

ENJOY!!!!

 

Ravioli di Carne di Piccione

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Ravioli Pigeon Filling

In a pan add a handful of chopped Pancetta and fry slightly. After a few minutes add some chopped garlic, carrots, celery and onion. Fry all together until the onion is well soft. In another pan add some olive oil and brown the pigeons on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste. When well browned add a cup of good red wine and let the wine evaporate for some minutes. Now add the contents of both pans together and combine with about 500 g of Passata. Simmer slowly in an open pan and keep moist with some good stock, Cook until the meat is very soft and coming off the bone. When cooled, remove the meat from the carcass and cut it fine, then return it to the pan with all the sauce. Cook only for a few minutes and make sure it is well mixed and the correct moisture content, if too dry add some more stock. Taste for salt and pepper and correct if required.

100 g Pancetta

6 Cloves of garlic

2 Medium carrots

2 Celery sticks

1 Pinch of dried chilli or 1 fresh chilli

4 Medium sized onions

Salt and Pepper

All of the above finely chopped

100 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Pigeons

200 ml Good red wine

500 g Passata

1 Litre stock

Ravioli Pasta

Mix the egg and flour together and knead until uniform and smooth. It should be a fairly firm dough and if not correct, adjust by adding either more milk or more flour. I coloured mine by adding green Cavolo nero sauce to one third and red plum sauce to another third, thus getting tri colours

5 Eggs beated slightly

500 g Plain flour – Preferably Tipo 00

Roll pasta dough out with a pasta machine to a medium thickness. Lay one sheet down and place enough filling in little balls on top of the dough so that your pasta press will cover it. Make many rows of filling, spaced to accommodate the ravioli press. Now layer another sheet over the first and the filling balls, then press and cut with ravioli press. Flour well and keep until used.

Boil enough water to accommodate tall the pasta and when boiling well dump the ravioli in the boiling water. When they are floating, cook for another two minutes and then scoop out with a slotted spoon. Serve on pre warmed plates and dress with melted butter and sage sauce

Grated Parmigiano or Grana Padana

10 Sage leaves

Add enough grated Parmigiano and do not forget the Home made Red Wine

ENJOY!!

Feral Pigeons

Feral Pigeons are responsible for substantial grain losses to farmers who feed grain to their stock. From time to time hunters are invited by farmers to come and assist in controlling the numbers and recently I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of such harvest. Being a minimalist and striving towards self sufficiency, I slaughtered and cleaned the birds for the pot and very little was wasted. Backbones, wing tips and excess skin was all used in making perfect stock. The offal was all cleaned and used to make perfect “La Coratella”. Leaving me with perfect pigeon carcasses, well packed in vacuum bags for many sumptuous meals to come (see my next post for Ravioli di Piccione)

Lepre Selvatica – Wild Herbed Rabbit alla Mrs BYF

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Today’s lunch

I was given a lovely, lean, young rabbit that was hunted yesterday. We decided to have it for lunch today, without marinating or ageing it. We had not shopped in a while and had used up all the home grown garlic, so Mrs BYF asked me to pick a few handfuls of all the herbs I have growing in the garden. This is a great pleasure to do, because herbs grow very well in Dunedin. The resulting dish, which she called ‘Herbed Rabbit’ was one of her memorable efforts. The meal cost us the price of a serve of polenta and the 2 Italian sausages (made by me) that were leftovers from a birthday party.
Recipe: Herbed Rabbit ( you can use chicken also)
 
1  rabbit skinned, cleaned  washed and cut up. Save the livers, heart and kidneys for
    killer pasta sauce later.
1  small leek, sliced finely, including the green tops
1  bowl (about 4 handfuls) of all the fresh herbs you have, chopped fine. I picked
    rosemary, thyme, marjoram,  sage, oregano and chives
    Salt, pepper and a tiny pinch of chili flakes
    A splash of red wine
    Juice of 2 lemons
    A splash of apple cider vinegar (made by me)
2  leftover Italian sausages. I have given the recipe elsewhere on the blog but you may
    want to just buy some
Brown the rabbit pieces thoroughly in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Use a deep pan that can fit the rabbit without overlapping. Remove the browned rabbit from the pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the leeks and herbs and fry for a few minutes. Put the rabbit pieces and the sliced sausages on top of the herbs, add the vinegar and lemon juice and a bit of water to the pan and cover. Cook at medium heat, turning occasionally and adding a few spoonfuls of water to prevent sticking. The completed dish will have no water in the pan, just the rich green herby sauce. You can blend the sauce briefly if your don’t like the bits of herb under your teeth.
The taste of this dish made with what we had on hand surpassed our expectations by far. We finally used up a huge amount of the herbs, this time of the year and attained our goal of eating great food to almost no cost.
Enjoy with some heavy homemade red wine!

Californian Quail

California Quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

A male California Quail stands on a rock overlooking his covey.

The disappearance of Californian quails is a general trend all over New Zealand – Loss of habitat, chemical pollution and predators. I am presently engaged in a project to breed and release some 1,000 birds every year for ten years – a very ambitious project with a high possibility of failure. The only advantages we have, are – 1. A “suitable” habitat of about 100,000 hectares. 2. A lot of enthusiasm and able people.
 
Birds and eggs are virtually unavailable in New Zealand because they are rare and not easy to breed (compared to other quail species that I regularly breed). That is why we are trying at present to build numbers and breeding lines for our project which has been going for its third year now – yes we are making progress and hopefully shall have the first fully fledged release by the end of this season.
 
We are still building numbers and lines and would be interested in obtaining some birds and / or eggs and if you are aware of any, please let me know.
 
Thanking you
 
Back Yard Farmer
Tel – 0211 34 14 52 / 03 473 0521
byf@backyardfarmer.co.nz
9 Lucan Street
North East Valley
Dunedin 9010
Otago
New Zealand

Swan Sausages

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Following another successful day of hunting ducks, I returned home not only with a few ducks, but also with some swans. Being a keen sausage maker, I thought it appropriate to make my first ever swan sausages. After spending considerable time “hunting” through all of my cook books, it was not a huge surprise to come up empty handed for swan sausages. I adapted some wild duck recipes and made a few kilograms each of basil and sun dried tomato, sage and swan and pork sausages. After tasting all of these, which are all very delightful, I came to the conclusion that the swan taste is very strong and over powering camouflaging the subtle tastes of the spices and next time I shall have to blend it with some milder meats.  Overall a very interesting and delightful experience.