Monday, December 15, 2014

It was a good year for the grouse

Damn, I have forgotten how good a taste of ruffed grouse can be.

A decent descriptor of pathetic shooting prowess
But then there was never a really good opportunity
At least that's my story
Two shots too far at a bird that flew down the trail center
Two shots at a bird behind the balsam screen
One shot at a too close, weird angled, up and behind the back twister
Perhaps there was no lead in the little shells
Seven birds in the birch and spruce boughs
Craning their necks to decifer a three dog risk
No shooting at the thought of retriever pieces

And then finally a duck gun Hail Mary
driving down the black top
returning from the morning flight
sunburned face and aching shoulders
rowing hard to beat the compition
outboard motor failure
dozing off............

"there's a bird"
"a grouse"
"right there on the shoulder"
"didn't you see it"
"it was right there"
my side
didn't see it
 "you want it"

Twelve gauge and steel number twos
huff and puff a couple hundred yards back up the road ditch
no bird on the shoulder
are you sure there was a bird
go ahead another twenty-five yards
no bird
flush at about fifty
too far?
shoot and miss
pull a lead and shoot again
down like a freakin' shuttle cock!

Between passes and misses
the kill stands at about 5 %
pretty good year for the grouse

Braised grouse:

One grouse lightly shot (one #2 steel center punched)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup reconstituted dried morel mushrooms
dredge: 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium/ low heat
Split the grouse lengthwise and remove the legs
Dredge the bird heavily in the flour mixture
Drop dredged bird into hot fat and brown for about five minutes, turning once
Reduce heat and add shallots - simmer for two minutes
Add the morels and the excess reconstitution water
Cover and slowly simmer for one hour
check occasionally to avoid bird sticking to bottom of the pan and add water as needed to produce a thick gravy.

All that is left, is to marvel at how incredibly delicious this little bird is- and wonder if the nineteen that got away will be around next season?

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff here; recipe and all.

    Other thing you do is take that entire skin/feathers and pin it to a board; salt it down good. Those are soft hackles as you know.