HUNTING Recipe: Grouse Fried Rice

Hank Shaw runs the award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

If you've never eaten fried rice, chances are you've been living under a rock or above the Arctic Circle. It's a universal Chinese food, one often treated as an afterthought — as a base for some other dish like kung pao or orange chicken. This is unfortunate.

Good fried rice is a meal in and of itself. I used to eat pints of fried rice for lunch all through high school and college, varying the meat (or seafood) every day to keep things interesting. Chicken was always my go-to, however.

Flash forward to hunting season, and I figured, hell, why not make fried rice with a ditch chicken? Pheasant is a perfect meat for fried rice, but then again, so is ruffed grouse, partridge, quail or blue grouse. Could you do this with red meat birds like duck, dove or sharptail grouse? You bet.


Save the tenders from underneath your bird breasts and use them for this recipe. The tender needs to be removed anyway when you are cooking bird breasts, and this is a great use for them


This is an authentic fried rice that uses whatever sort of white-meat game bird you have lying around. I used ruffed grouse for the picture, but pheasant, quail, partridges, and yes, even chicken will work. If you like this recipe, memorize the technique — you can vary your fried rice endlessly, and since it comes together in about 10 minutes, it's a good post-hunt dish to have down pat.

One thing is vital, however: You must use cold, leftover cooked rice. You cannot make fried rice with freshly cooked rice. It will get mushy and nasty.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons peanut oil


¾ pound skinless pheasant, grouse or other gamebird breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 to 4 dried or fresh hot chiles, sliced thin


1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 cup peas

3 cups leftover cooked rice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 green onions, sliced into ¼ inch pieces

Directions

Set a wok or saute pan over high heat for a minute or two. Add the peanut oil and heat it until it just barely begins to smoke. Add the meat and stir fry it for 90 seconds. Remove the meat from the wok and set aside.

Add the carrot and stir fry 30 seconds. If the wok is too dry, add a little more oil. Add the garlic and chile and stir fry everything for 1 minute.

Add the leftover cooked rice and the peas and stir fry for 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps. Return the meat to the wok and add the soy sauce and white pepper. Stir fry 1 minute.

Move the contents of the pan to one side and pour the egg into the wok. Scramble the egg a little, then bury it with the rice mixture. Spread the rice evenly over the pan and let cook without disturbing it for 1 minute. Mix everything around and let it cook undisturbed 1 final minute.

Turn off the heat, mix in the green onions and serve.

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