Last week while searching for a recipe, I found an old crinkled recipe clipped years ago from a magazine. The original recipe, courtesy of Al Roker, uses chicken coated with a pecan-cornmeal crust and then oven-fried. Recently, we’ve thought about the strangeness of chukar hunting. Al Roker and chukar in the same sentence, now that’s strange, unless he’s an upland bird hunter. We made his recipe last night for the first time using chukar and it ended up delicious. It’s now one of our favorite chukar recipes.
Oven-Fried Chukar with Pecan-Cornmeal Crust
6 chukar breast cutlets
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425F. Using heavy duty aluminum foil, line a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with sides at least 1 inch high. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking oil. Rinse the chukar under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In another shallow bowl, stir together the pecans, cornmeal, flour, salt, onion powder, cayenne and pepper.
Dip the chukar pieces into the egg mixture, and then dredge them in the pecan-cornmeal mixture. Place the chukar in the prepared baking dish.
Dot the chukar with the butter and bake about 10-15 minutes. Turn the breast over and bake another 10 minutes until golden brown.
Chukar breasts are small so be careful not to overcook. Adjust baking time as needed. Just as in fried chicken, oven-baked chukar can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold. We like to serve ours hot with brussels sprouts and creamy garlic mashed potatoes.