Eating Road Kill

roadkill
Need I say more?

At the risk of alienating half of my three readers, I have a confession to make: last night I ate my first road kill.

It might or might not be what you’re thinking. Our neighborhood is lousy with California valley quail, which – in Idaho for obvious reasons – they refer to as valley quail. This winter we’ve been lucky enough to be entertained by coveys numbering in the several dozens. They sweep across our yard like a dusty gray wave and scurry through the beds picking up grit and seeds. Angus stays rapt at the big window in the front, taking it all in while wishing he were out there with them. Then a car will come up the street and the quail will demonstrate their instinct for panic and bust across the street in front of the looming vehicle, half of them flying and the other, probably younger half, running.

Aging game birds
Aging game birds

One day I went out to get the mail and saw one of the younger quail get hit by a passing car. After colliding with the bumper it bounced to the gutter, quivered for a moment, and then lay still. I thought, “Why not?”

Making sure none of my neighbors saw me, I picked it up and hanged it in the cold shed with the other birds I was aging. A few days later, I was pleased while cleaning the quail to see it was clean, and put it in the pot with the rest of the birds. While much smaller than the Huns and chukar I’m used to cooking, the meat was delicious. I’ll never look at road kill the same way again.

Here’s the recipe (thanks to Dan Herrig for this, which I’ve modified slightly and renamed):

Greek Game Bird Roadkill

Ingredients:

  • 4 chukars cut in pieces or boned (any game bird will do, road-killed or not)
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • ½ C apple cider vinegar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 4 scallions (or 8 green onions) finely chopped
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • ¾ C Kalamata olives halved
  • 1-1/2 C diced prunes

Preheat oven to 350. Wash and dry game bird pieces.  Place them in the bottom of a clay cooker or Dutch oven. Add all ingredients except one cup of the prunes.  Stir, cover and place in the oven for about 1-½ hours. Check after an hour to make sure it’s not already done (cooking time will vary depending on how much meat you have in the pot).  About 15 minutes before completion, add the remaining cup of plums.  Stir and return to the oven.  Serve with brown rice and crusty bread!

2 Replies to “Eating Road Kill”

  1. Just found your site while looking for some personal reviews of the Benelli ulra light. Had to look at the recipes as I find chukar to be the best eating game bird around. Several years ago I came home from a successful weekend of chukar induced torture with 16 birds. After breasting and removing the legs, I was left with a pile of backs that seemed too much to toss out. I boiled them into a stock, peeled the meat from the bone and made chukar noodle soup. Whatever your recipe for soup is, the back meat makes very good soup.

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