“With the heat forcing the hunters to the safety of the white farmhouse, some sustenance was the plan to satisfy them for their earlier efforts. Because of prairie chickens’ dark, dark meat, some say that the bird has an unfavorable flavor. However, Sim Whatley, owner of the Duck Camp hunting and fishing clothing company in Austin, Texas, channeled his family’s Cajun connections to prove the old notion wrong. Just like he learned from his mother and had done many times before, Sim took control of the kitchen. A quick walk by the door revealed the tantalizing aromas of sizzling andouille sausage, fresh-cut onions, frying prairie chicken breasts, and Louisiana hot sauce. When all was said and done, he handed bowls of prairie chicken fricassee to everyone, and we all promptly toasted to a fine day and a fantastic meal. Don’t let anyone tell you different—prairie chicken can taste great.” -Excerpt from “High Plains Heat” by Matt Soberg
- 3 prairie chickens, breasts removed and cubed
- 1 pound Conecuh (or andouille)sausage, sliced
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup diced onions
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 2cloves
- 4 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (Louisiana or Crystal)
- Water, to cover
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 3 cups cooked short-grain white rice
1. In a pan or skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage on both sides to render the fat out. Remove the sausage from the fat and set aside. Brown the prairie chicken in the rendered fat from the sausage. Set all meat aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil and whisk in flour until smooth. Make sure to stir constantly so that the flour doesn’t burn. Once you have a roux the shade of somewhere between peanut butter and chocolate, add the onions. Let the onions cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they are translucent.
3. Add bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until wilted.
4. Add cooked sausage, prairie chicken, mushrooms, Better than Bouillon, a pinch of salt and pepper, hot sauce, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for an hour and a half.
5. Once the prairie chicken is fork tender, add water or reduce to your desired consistency. It should be a stew-like consistency.
6. Before serving, stir mixture and season to taste once more with salt and pepper.
Add green onions and parsley and stir through. Serve over rice.
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