Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Catch of The Day ... and It's Not Fish

Chuckers (Pernice)
It's small game birds - chuckers (partridges) or Pernice.

Our family’s passion for small game hunting is generational. My husband was taught by his father and other hunters of his generation. He then passed on his passion to our son and our grandson. Last weekend, my husband, son and grandson went hunting. They caught four chuckers and one pheasant.  As usual, they enjoy the outing but they leave the cleaning and cooking up to me.
So here we go!   

The freshly shot chuckers were hung upside down in our garage for two days to drain the blood.  After two days, they needed to be cleaned.

Chuckers  may be dry plucked or dipped in scalding water and wet plucked. Holding the bird upside down by its legs, I dipped it in scalding water for few moments. I placed the bird directly over the basement sink and started plucking the feathers against the grain using short plucking movements so as not to tear the skin.

 Finally, I briefly held the bird over the flame of a gas burner to remove fine hair.

Once finished plucking, with kitchen scissors, I cut off the head and bottom part of the legs. By sticking my fingers in the neck opening, I was able to remove the windpipe and gullet. From the bottom opening, I was able to remove all innards. I kept the livers and gizzards.
After washing the birds thoroughly with cold running water, I placed them in a bath of cold water and salt for few hours.


Braised Chuckers with Olives
2 chuckers (pernice) cut in pieces
1/4 lb. of pancetta (diced)
4 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 bay leaves
1 small lemon juice
Sprigs of fresh rosemary and salvia  (sage)
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Some cured black olives (optional)


Place bird pieces in a bowl. 
Add the juice of lemon, sprigs of rosemary,
salvia, bay leaves and half of the garlic.
Marinate for 3 hours or overnight.

In a cast iron pot or large frying pan, add the olive oil, garlic and pancetta.  Saute' until golden.  Drain chucker pieces, salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Brown pieces over medium heat.  Add white wine.  After few minutes, cover the pan and simmer gently for an hour, turning pieces occasionally.  Add additional wine if necessary. When tender, remove cover and brown briefly over medium heat.  Add olives and serve.

Pheasant alla caciatore (hunter style)

Braised chuckers with side dish of flat green beans with a light tomato sauce
Soffritto di Pernice

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