This is an excellent recipe for those hot summer afternoons where you need to make use of the days catch (with enough veges to keep you in good nick). If Hapuka isn’t available, don’t dismay, as any fresh fish goes beautifully with this recipe.
Tag Archives: The Hunter’s Kitchen
So you’ve done the hard yards and carried your meat home, now it’s time to turn it into something you can cook with. When breaking down a whole deer taking out the back steaks are pretty self-explanatory, just make sure that you run your knife hard up against the backbone to make sure you get all the meat. You can take off the shoulder by cutting away behind the shoulder blade and the hind quarters can be removed by going through the hip joint. Make sure you don’t forget the inner fillets which run along the spine on the inside of the cavity and make sure you take the neck meat, it’s some of the best braising meat in my opinion. Personally I like to dice up the shoulder meat for stews, pies, curry etc and the back steaks I keep relatively whole for the BBQ or for pan frying. Don’t throw out any trim as this can be put through the mincer and used for things like meatballs, lasagne and chilli. The hind leg is probably the most difficult piece of meat to deal with so that’s what we’ll be breaking down today. The hind leg is made up of four primal cuts (Rump, knuckle, topside and silverside) plus the shank. These four main cuts are collectively known as Denver leg and I use them interchangeably using a fast cooking method (fry, roast, BBQ etc) with the shank the only cut that I think always needs to be braised. Depending on the age and condition of your particular animal you should be able to cook all these cuts as you would a steak, however once you’ve aged your meat to your liking and your meat is still tough one you may want to change to a slow cook method to make it nice and tender.
You will need:
A tray to place you meat in as you prepare it
Two bowls: one for your off cuts and one for rubbish
A good sized chopping board with a wet towel underneath to stop it moving
A sharp boning knife and steel
A hacksaw (optional)
Set your work bench up with all the gear you’ll need and place your leg flat on the chopping board. What we’re looking to do is to remove all the main muscle groups which are all separated by connective tissue. You’ll be able to pull away the muscle groups and use the knife to just help them on their way.
Once the muscle groups are opened up and you’ve exposed the main leg bone (femur) you can just cut away the muscle with the knife hard up against the bone, this way you don’t waste any meat.
Keep following the seams and remove the main muscle groups off the bone and set aside.
Remove the side muscle from the shank and keep this to one side for slow cooking.
Cut through the joint and separate the shank and keep for slow cooking. You can take the meat off the shank if you like or using a hacksaw remove the end of the bone so the shank fits better in your pot or slow cooker. The femur you can use to make stock of give to your dog and make his day.
Now you will have your leg broken down into the main muscle groups you can follow the natural sinew lines and break each primal into its individual muscle groups.
Remove all the membrane and silver skin by inserting your knife under the skin and with your knife angled upwards removing it by cutting it away in strips. If left on this will cook up very tough.
Now that you have your meat trimmed up you can go ahead and portion it how you like. Either leave as whole pieces, cut into meal size chunks or portion into steaks or medallions ready for the BBQ. If you are going to freeze your meat be sure to make sure it’s wrapped well (this is where a vacuum packer earns its price) to avoid freezer burn.
One of the best things about New Zealand, and something that we probably take for granted, is our free and easy access to wild game and fresh seafood. If you’re into your hunting and fishing and like to go for a dip in the ocean, or know a mate who does then here’s a classic recipe to cook at home or chuck on the flat top of the BBQ. A few years ago I was lucky enough to be doing a stint as a chef in the Queen Charlotte Sounds and have access to paua fresh as you can get. We would slice thinly and fry it quickly in butter with a squeeze of lemon and they were amazing. If you’re using great, fresh ingredients often the more simple recipes are the best.
Paua can be pretty tough and everyone has their own theory on how to tenderise them. The general rule of thumb is once they’ve been removed from the shell, gutted and the teeth removed you need to slice them thinly and fry them quick and fast, slowly braise them or mince them which is the method I am using for this recipe. These fritters are great thrown between two slices of fresh white toast bread with some aioli or you can serve them with some buttered new potatoes and a salad for a full meal. As always, it’s up to us to be responsible and ensure the future prosperity of our resources so make sure you stick to your bag limits and know your minimum sizes so we’ll all be able to enjoy nature’s bounty for years to come.
“Here is a technique that gets a pretty good result, about as close as you can get to looking like a store bought duck. Plucking a duck can be a pretty laborious job but this technique is pretty quick and easy and means you get to enjoy the whole bird and its crispy skin.”
You will need:
A big pot to boil water
A bucket of cold water
Find a place where you don’t mind making a bit of a mess and get your knives sharpened and ready along with a decent sized chopping board sitting on a wet towel to stop it from moving round on you. One of the first things you will want to do is get your big pot on to boil and add your paraffin wax to it to melt. Apparently National brand candles are made of paraffin wax which is certified food grade.
Remove the wings.
Remove the wing and tail feathers. The easiest way is to pull these straight out, with the grain.
All the other feathers are easiest if pulled out against the grain. Don’t completely pluck the duck, what we want to do is leave a covering of the down feathers so we can remove them with the hot wax.
Holding your semi plucked duck (guts still intact) by the head and feet, dip it slowly into a pot with the melted wax for a few seconds then transfer to a bucket of cold water. Leave the duck there for about 5 minutes in order for the wax to set rock hard.
Now that the wax is hard and has stuck to the feathers you can start at the neck and carefully peel it off the duck, removing all the feathers in the process. Once your duck has all the feathers and wax removed you can go ahead and remove the head and feet. If there are any small down feathers left here and there they can be singed by a quick go with a blow torch.
To gut the bird remove the tail by cutting straight through just past where the bones stop. Reach into the cavity and pull out all the contents being sure to remove the lights (lungs) which are found at the neck end of the bird on either side of the backbone. Give it a good rinse inside and out with cold running water, inspect for any shot and pat it dry. Now it’s ready to cook.
Duck confit on caramelised Brussel sprouts, bacon and grain mustard with bread sauce and fig chutney
This recipe utilises the whole duck and because of the slow method of cooking in fat you end up with a tender, moist and flavoursome result. I recommend giving the Brussel sprouts a go as bacon always makes things better but if you don’t feel like making the accompaniments then serving with some nice buttery mash potatoes is the way to go.
Since it is now Duck shooting season, here is a wee bonus recipe utilizing the whole duck and which can be done easily at home. Be sure not to cook the duck longer than you need to or it can dry out.. This is a great opportunity to use your Dutch oven if you have one and it will yield great results as they retain the heat and moisture really well. My recipe for Duck Confit can be found in the July/August edition of NZ Guns & Hunting magazine and keep an eye out in the next edition for tips on how to pluck and dress your duck.
I am a professional chef and amateur hunter. I have spent time hunting in most of the North Island ranges but do most of my hunting in the Tararua’s. Working as a chef has sent me to several locations in the world and I have worked in New Zealand, Malaysia, Cook Islands and the Maldives. I first started out hunting rabbits and possums with my old man when I was a kid before moving on to goats and deer as I grew older. As a chef I like to use the best produce available. Hunters when killing humanely and taking only what they need can end up cooking with not only the most ethically harvested meat but when dealt with properly, the best quality also. I think it’s really important to know where your food comes from and how best not to waste it, and that’s why I think hunting and cooking marry so well together and that’s what I hope to promote and achieve through sharing the recipes and techniques we use to cook wild game professionally.
You can find a new recipe using wild game in every new edition of NZ Guns & Hunting Magazine. Here is the first recipe from The Hunter’s Kitchen from the May/June edition.