07 December 2011

Girl Hunter

What makes a hunter? Some hunters learn it from family and some through extended family. Georgia Pellegrini was farm girl in the afternoon and Manhattan school girl during the day. She left Wall Street for the kitchens of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. After having to actually kill food that was on the menu, she began an exploration of what it actually means to kill your own meat and how she became a girl hunter.

Girl Hunter is one of those hybrid memoir/cookbooks. I admit that I usually am not very fond of this type of work, as I feel the recipes get the short shrift. that was not the case in Girl Hunter. Pellegrini provides a thoughtful and rational insite into hunting. One soon finds that hunting is one of those sports that engenders some colorful characters and Pellegrini finds her fair share of them.

The book also explores that facet of hunting as not just a sport, but for many, a necessity for putting food on the table. Pellegrini puts some fine food on the table. I am most anxious to try her recipes for javelina, the famed "skunk-pig" found in the Texas countryside. We Southerners are always on the hunt for different pork.
Alas, I do not see Texas in my near future.

I decided to offer up something that even the non-hunter might try. Granted, wild turkey bears no resemblance to the turkey breast found in your grocer's freezer, but give this one a try.

Whiskey Glazed Turkey Breast

6 tablespoons butter
1 turkey breast, skin on and brined
salt and pepper
8 to 10 strips of bacon, or equivalent in lard (for breasts without skin only)
1 cup turkey stock
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons whiskey
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. In an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter until it begins to bubble. Sprinkle the skin of the brined turkey breast with salt and pepper. If the breast is without skin, wrap it with bacon or lard and fasten with toothpicks or kitchen twine as needed. Place the breast skin side down in the butter, sprinkle the underside with salt and pepper, and let the skin brown for about 5 minutes. Turn it over and add the stock. Cover with foil or a lid and transfer to the oven.

2. In a separate skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the honey until well incorporated. Add the whiskey along with the orange zest and juice, and cayenne and whisk together. Turn the heat to low and let the glaze reduce by half. Turn off the heat and set aside.

3. Once the turkey has cooked for 10 minutes, brush with half of the glaze and recover. Roast for 20 more minutes, brush with the remaining glaze, leave uncovered and increase the temperature to 400F. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reads 140F to 150F.

4. Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with foil for 10 minutes before slicing, and serving.

For anyone who like game or a tall tale of hunting, Girl Hunter is for you. Check out more on Pellegrini's official web site.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring my book Girl Hunter! What a lovely post.


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