Archive for the ‘MEAT | GAME | POULTRY’ Category

Dove Pie.

White Winged Doves

Dove season has started in South Texas, so you know what that means: Lots of little birds stuffed and wrapped in jalapenos, bacon and cream cheese. Come December, if you are looking for something special to do with those dove breasts in your freezer, try this tasty warming recipe. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon with friends and bottles of Becker Vineyards 2008 Barbera.  Nummy…

Dove Pie with Madeira Sauce
(Adapted from Brian Turner)

* 450 g puff pastry
* 8 dove breasts
* 25 g butter
* 55 g button mushrooms, finely diced
* 350 g pork sausage meat
* splash Worcestershire sauce
* splash tabasco
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk

For the sauce
* 75 g butter
* 2 shallots, finely chopped
* 60 ml madeira, Rich Old Bual
* 60 ml white wine
* 300 ml thickened beef stock
* 1 tbsp chopped parsley

1. For the pie: preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface and cut into 2 pieces 12 x 30cm.
3. Heat the butter in a frying pan and quickly seal the dove breasts until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until tender. Drain and allow to cool.
5. Mix the sausage meat with the cooled mushrooms, then add the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce and season with salt and pepper.
6. Beat the egg with the egg yolk. Brush over the edges of one piece of dough.
7. Lay the sausage eat mixture down the centre of the dough. Lay the dove breasts on top.
8. Carefully fold the remaining piece of dough in half lengthwise and cut halfway through in 1cm spaces. Lay this on top of the filling and seal the edges well. Crimp the edges and brush with the egg wash.
9. Put on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest.
10. For the sauce: heat 25g butter in a medium pan and gently cook the shallots until soft.
11. Add the Madeira and cook steadily until reduced by half. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by two-thirds.
12. Add the stock to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is hot. Remove from the heat and beat in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
13. To serve: slice the pie at an angle and serve with the sauce.


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Birthday Party at Four String Farm

We recently had the pleasure of throwing a birthday party with great friends at the Four String Farm in Rockport, Texas. This gorgeous creation is run by Justin Butts and sells pastured pork, poultry, and eggs as well as fresh herbs and vegetables throughout the year. No hormones, steroids or antibiotics are ever given to the animals and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are used on their plants. Turkeys are available by pre-order for Thanksgiving (yay!).

Beginning in Fall 2010, Four String Farm will host a series of eco-tours and special events on the farm.  In addition to the commercial farming operation, they carefully maintain a protected ecosystem on the farm that allows native animal and plant species to thrive.  The  eco-tours will feature this vast array of plant and animal wildlife.  Birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, and visitors to the Gulf Coast will be able to view the bio-diversity at the farm.  Numerous educational and entertaining events, from cooking demonstrations in the farmhouse to classes on wildlife photography will be available.  Stay tuned!

How to Buy

* Look for Four String Farm at the Rockport/Fulton Farmer’s Market (Fulton Beach Road by Paws & Taws) on the first and third Saturday of month or at Rockport Market Days on the last Saturday of the month (by Rockport Beach and the Texas Maritime Museum).
* Call  361-688-3802 or e-mail justinbutts@clearwire.net.
* You can pick up retail orders from the farm by appointment only.
* Ask about customized volume discount orders.
* Visit www.fourstringfarm.com for more info.

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The Graff family in Hondo, Texas own a corn maize and cattle ranch. Their ranching heritage dates back to 1847 when Louis Graff  immigrated to Texas and was one of the original settlers in Castroville. 7A Ranch Heritage Beef cattle are free range and raised naturally without the use of synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics. Ken and Laurie Graff represent the 5th generation to live and work on the 7A Ranch.

From their website

Through the implementation of rotational grazing, our herd is always on fresh healthy grass, thereby producing a healthy animal. The cattle are never placed in a feedlot situation but are supplemented in the pasture environment. We personally grind and mix all of our cattle’s feed on our ranch. Whenever possible we use grain and forages produced on our farm so we can be assured of its quality. We use no herbicides or pesticides on our land. We feel a biologically diverse environment will take care of itself. Our fertilizers match the compounds naturally occurring in our soils. The use of fish emulsion and blackstrap molasses is the backbone of our nutrient applications. Crop rotations and the use of legumes greatly enhance the biodiversity of our croplands.

The South Texas MAiZE, a unique outdoor fall recreational event was established in 2001 to compliment the activities of the diverse farm and ranch and to share how agriculture plays an important role in our everyday lives.

Round trip transportation can be provided from San Antonio to their ranch and they will also ship their gorgeous beef anywhere in the continental US.

The Graff Family 7a Ranch and Corn Maize
545 Private Road 4420
Hondo, Texas 78861


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Turkey hunting in South Texas

Informative article from Dallas Morning News columnist Ray Sasser regarding the decline of turkey hunting (the season just started here in South Texas on March 20). Last year was down by 30%+ with most turkey hunters residing outside of Texas – especially from the Southeast, where spring hunting is more popular. Critics argue that Texan hunters don’t appreciate the value in hunting turkeys nor do it properly. Sasser suggests using a rigged out 20-gauge shotgun with a scope.

There are a variety of turkey hunting packages available, with most currently taking place inthe Rio Grande Valley.

I’d love some wild turkey if anyone wants to hunt it for me…Anyone?

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We went to visit Morgan Weber of Revival Meats in Yoakum, Texas last weekend to see his gorgeous pigs – spotted and mangalitsas. It was inspiring to see such a productive and cared-for operation. Morgan and Stacey are clearly passionate about their pigs and we would all benefit if more farmers followed their lead.

While at the Revival Meats farm, we had the good fortune to meet Ben from Salt & Time and the topic meandered from field harvesting at Broken Arrow Ranch to feral hog jerky…cuz that’s how we roll. After a bit of research to learn more about wild game, I came across these resources for feral hog novices (and wild game amateurs) like myself. NOTE: A lot of folks in South Texas hunt. And I mean A LOT.

So are you ready to kill and cook your own meat? Then Keith Patton’s page is your first stop for wild game hunting and cooking tips:

To minimize wild taste try to kill the animal when he is at rest or does not know you are there.  Dark cutting meat results in a rank off flavor.  This is recognized by the meat industry, identified in the late 1800’s as a phenomena when animals are agitated or frightened prior to death.  Metabolic processes due to fear result in depleted lactic acid in the muscles(meat) this raises pH or lowers the acidity of the meat which allows bacteria to thrive.  This results in a dark, sticky, gummy meat.  This is common in game meat from animals killed on the run, or coursed or chased with dogs.  Every animal I have killed, pole axed, have been great.  All this is why my grand father used to give us hell when we butched hogs, if we agitated them.  He couldn’t tell us why it mattered but he knew that the meat would be of lower quality, and the hams would have a higher likelihood of spoiling during curing.  Try killing your hogs over a feeder and if they get agitated or are running, pass and come back another day.

Dressing & Cooking Wild Game is a tasty and highly regarded cookbook once you have offed your feral hog.

Oh…and don’t forget that jerky.

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Unlike workaday pork, Mangalitsa is marbled, and the fat dissolves on your tongue—it’s softer and creamier, akin to Wagyu beef.
—David Knell, Executive Sous Chef, The French Laundry, Napa Valley, CA

Revival Meats’ founder Morgan Weber took the long road to a life of farming. He grew up near Yoakum, Texas, a small rural town midway between Houston and Corpus Christi, an hour’s drive inland from the Gulf of Mexico. After earning a degree in music, building a successful career buying real estate for the public sector, and dabbling in the restaurant industry, he returned to his family’s roots – the ranch founded by his grandfather, John William Hermes

Their mission: To sell humanely raised meat of the highest quality, directly to consumers — to take the middleman and the mystery out of the equation. In founding Revival Meats, Morgan and Stacey want to give customers an opportunity to see where their food comes from. To this end, Revival Meats reaches back to the past, to restore values and ideals deeply steeped in family tradition, following a model of small-scale, humane, and truly sustainable agriculture

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According to the Broken Arrow Ranch, their best selling game meat is South Texas Antelope. These animals are officially named the “nilgai” antelope and originate in India and Nepal. “Nilgai” means “blue bull” in certain East Indian dialects. They were originally introduced to the King Ranch in the 1930’s by a family member who decided that South Texas was a tough environment for cattle that had evolved in a cooler climate. His search for an animal that could thrive in the South Texas climate and produce a high quality, lean meat led him to the nilgai antelope.

The meat has a mild flavor with a good texture, much like veal. It is extremely low in fat, averaging well under 1% for most cuts.

These are large animals, weighing an average of 280 pounds on the hoof. This larger size reduces the harvesting and processing cost when calculated on a per pound basis and allows them to offer this meat at very attractive prices.

At this time Broken Arrow Ranch is the only company in the US conducting on-site, commercial harvesting of deer and antelope.

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