IT'S ALL OUT THERE IN HERE...







Sunday, September 9, 2012

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

I love the change of seasons.  The transition from summer to fall is my favorite.  Although the days remain warm, the nights start getting a little cooler, the trees start to change, the air feels and smells different, but my  favorites are the beginning of the college football season and bird hunting season.  Bird season got underway this week so my husband and I headed for the hills in search of ruffed grouse in the beautiful McKenzie River area.  The work was well worth the reward.



Although these gates are becoming more common, less traffic means less disturbance to the birds and our increased chances for these somewhat elusive forest birds.
(click on pictures for larger view)



I have a habit of nicknaming just about everything.  This is 'Prescilla', my Benelli Nova .20 gauge.  
She rarely disappoints.


My favorite hunting buddy.














First ruffed grouse of the season.





“If you turn the imagination loose like a hunting dog, 

it will often return with the bird in its mouth.”

-- William Maxwell




Here is a very tasty recipe for these wonderful birds.  Compliments of Field and Stream.

--BACON WRAPPED GROUSE WITH WHISKEY MUSHROOM SAUCE--

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE GROUSE:
4 grouse
2 TBSP - butter
8 strips - bacon

FOR THE SAUCE:
2 TBSP- butter
20 oz. - cremini or wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin 
1 shallot - minced
1 C - rich chicken stock
3 sprigs - thyme
1/2 C - cream
1 TBSP - bourbon
1 TBSP - fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

ROAST THE GROUSE:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Rinse the birds, pat dry, then smear each with 1/2 tablespoon of softened butter.  Generously salt and pepper, inside and out.  Wrap 2 bacon slices around each grouse, then set them in a roasting pan.  Roast in the oven until the grouse is browned, about 25 minutes.  Remove to a plate and cover loosely in tinfoil.  Let rest while you make the sauce.

MAKE THE SAUCE:
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and about 1/2 tsp. salt and saute, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release a lot of moisture and begin to smell fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot.  Saute until soft and until most of the moisture has gone out of the pan, about 4 minutes.  Add the stock and the thyme sprigs and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.  Pour in the cream and bourbon and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes.

TO SERVE:
Spoon the sauce onto four plates and rest a grouse in the center of each.  Sprinkle chopped thyme over the grouse.
Serves 4 



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