I'd have sworn I posted this before, but could not find it.....and have had a few PMs asking about it. Forgive the in-depthness, but that's how I roll, plus I write all my recipies as such since I have certain offspring that aren't the best at following recipies so I try to spell it out as much as possible. This recipie, IMO, does NOT work with darker meat birds such as dove. Never would consider using this for duck. It works well for pheasant, chicken, and snipe.
INGREDIENTS STEP 1
- 50 or so Sora rails (Crakes, which I think is Latin for “tiny little bastards“), breast bone-in breasts are better thab fillets, and legs/thighs (all meat with no skin).
- (2) 49 oz cans chicken broth (or more)
-tsp celery salt
-¼ tsp ground white pepper
-1/8 tsp ground thyme
- 3/8 tsp tarragon
1 - Combine one of the cans chicken stock and all ingredients except rail and bring to a boil.
2 - Add rail and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until just cooked through. Better too rare than done.
3 - Remove meat, debone all legs (and breasts if bone-in), and return bones to stock and continue simmering stock while continuing with recipe. I like to let the bones simmer for at least an hour or so, which you probably can’t do if you prepare this recipe “all at once.” I try not to boil/simmer too high so as not to reduce the stock too much/fast, but you will eventually need to add more chicken broth throughout entire process; I ended up using both 49 oz cans plus some extra. You can actually turn flame off and let bones just steep for quite a while also in addition to simmering them (like if you have a store run to make or start this recipe early in the day).
4 - Place all meat in bowl and add just enough stock to cover/keep moist. Place meat in fridge if not continuing on with recipe right away. I ended up with about 12 or 14 ounces of rail meat from about 50 birds…..keeping in mind that some breasts and legs were unusable due to being shot too hard.
INGREDIENTS STEP 2
-2 cups diced carrots
-2 cups diced celery
-2 cups cubed potatoes
-2 1/2cups frozen peas
-2 cups frozen pearl onions
-4 cups sliced baby brown mushrooms
1 - In a small separate pot, get a few cups water to a boil, add carrots and blanch for a few minutes until they begin to soften; do not cook through. Remove carrots from water and place in bowl off to side to cool. Get the same water (or new) boiling again, and do the same with the celery. Place celery in bowl with carrots, or a separate bowl to cool faster.
2- Nuke/cook potatoes only so they are starting to soften, but they need to be pretty firm/not cooked through. Set aside.
3 - I boiled the mushrooms for about 10 or 15 minutes in crake stock then removed them to cool. Was surprised how much mushroom flavor it gave stock, which we really liked. You can either do it this way or boil it in separate water. Note that the 4 cups of shrooms will be reduced to 2 cup after this step. I also did this step after I had removed the crake bones from the stock (for ease of fishing out shrooms), but since the shrooms mostly float, I think you can do this while the bones are still in pot.
4- I just keep the peas and onions in freezer until needed.
INGREDIENTS STEP 3
- additional chicken broth from 2nd 49 oz can chicken broth (from STEP 1, or more)
-13 Tbsp butter
-no smaller than a tennis ball sized yellow onion diced
-¾ cup flour
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-3/8 tsp tarragon
-½ tsp black pepper
-5/8 tsp thyme leaves
1 - Remove bones from stock and discard (if not done so already). I do not strain my stock as I take care not to boil my bones away such that any tendons/etcetera fall off.
2 - Add additional chicken broth such that you have six cups of finished stock and bring back to a boil, then down to a low simmer, or even turn off.
3 - Melt butter in large skillet and sauté the diced yellow onion until soft/translucent.
4 - Slowly add flour to onions/butter, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes over low heat.
5 - Add this mixture to the stock and stir for a few minutes until it thickens.
6 - Add the cream and spices and stir in. Add any additional spice you think you may need, but the amounts I used came out very well - keep in mind that tarragon is a strong herb and can overpower a dish if you use too much.
7- Add in all the veggies from STEP 2 INGREDIENTS and rail meat and mix in. I added the little amount of stock that was with the rail meat that was keeping it moist while in the fridge. Mixture is now ready to be placed into the pan(s)
YOU’R ON YOUR OWN FROM HERE ON OUT………………but
I used a 15 inch by 11 inch by 2 inch pan, using a homemade crust lining the bottom and a homemade crust over the top, cooking the bottom crust in the pan for about 15 or 20 minutes at 325 first before filling it. The amount of filling from this recipe filled my 15x11 pan perfectly. Cooked it at 375 for about an hour. You may want to brush egg white over top crust so it browns nice. You can use multiple small pans instead of one big one, or substitute a “puff pastry” crust or “other” quick crusts, BUT a rare dish like this really deserves a good homemade flaky crust.
Homemade crust can be a beeyaaatch, but if you are daring (or have a nice wife) here you go.
8 inch crust for 4 to 5 pies (which is the right amount for the large pan I used)
4 cups flour
1 ¾ cup shortening
2 tsp salt
½ cup ice water
Tbs white vinegar
1 - mix salt in with flour
2 - Mix shortening and flour/salt quickly with your fingers such that you have many large chunks of shortening /flour.
3- pulse on food processor, or “cut in”, until shortening chunks are almost pea size
4 - Add vinegar and egg and pulse once or twice, or “cut in”, so shortening chunks are pea size
5- slowly add water and pulse only enough such that mixture moistens enough to come together. You may not need the entire ½ cup water (it’s humidity dependent or something old wivey’s tale like). You have to judge the exact moisture content needed.
6- Dump dough onto floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap dough in cellophane (maybe in more than one ball) and let it rest in fridge for 30 minutes.
7- when ready, roll out your crusts and fill pan(s) and add crust topping (Good luck here if trying to do one large pie as I do).
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