I must admit that after yesterday’s opening day take of two Lilliputian-sized Hungarian partridges I wasn’t all that excited. When we got home I put them in the fridge without even really looking them over, much less cleaning them. I usually hang my birds for a while, but it’s not really cool enough to do that yet. So this afternoon I thought I’d better do them now or I’d risk doing the unforgivable: tossing them several weeks from now… Never again.
They were a little shot up, with some intestine goo on the thighs, but I cleaned them up okay. They were about the size of a decent cock quail. I let them air dry and put them in a Ziplock and into the fridge again, thinking maybe in a few days I’d do something with them. I checked my thawing tamales around dinner time, and they were still frozen. So I grabbed the bag o’Wee Huns and entered the pantry in search of something. I didn’t know what. Then I saw the soy sauce. And the rice wine vinegar. And the brown sugar. Within twenty minutes I was tasting the best bird – of any kind – that I have ever eaten. Here’s what I did, and I name the recipe after dear ol’ Angus (I realize, for those of you with a penchant for bathroom humor, that this could be mis-read in interesting ways; get your minds out of the gutter):
Hungarian Partridge Angus
- Fresh Hungarian partridges (or chukar or quail), cleaned and separated by breast and legs
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic per bird, sliced; 2 per bird if decent sized
- Fresh ground pepper
Put the bird parts in a ziplock or covered container. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, and salt, and mix everything together like your life depended on it. Do it the Zen way. Feel the molecules greeting one another with gusto. No, seriously. Do it. It will make a difference. I only had these birds in this marinade for a few minutes, and it was plenty. You can experiment with more time if you like (let me know how it goes)…
In a large skillet, heat adequate olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet) on high and add the garlic and ground pepper once it’s hot. Brown the garlic a little, and then add the birds with all the marinade. Reduce heat to medium and tend the birds, turning as needed. Do this Zen, too, and you won’t regret it. Test the breasts when you think they might be done. My birds took about 7 minutes to cook through, and the sauce was reduced to a nice syrupy consistency. Serve with sauce from the pan, or pour over rice, couscous, taters, or whatever you like (dipping sauce for bread?). Enjoy.