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.
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.
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
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
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)
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.