Tuesday, July 22, 2008

dinner blog

Things have been warm and muggy here in my slice of the Southwest. We've had (badly needed) rain somewhere around town nearly every day for the last week (check out what's been happening in Santa Fe). While that's good, the afternoon and evening thundershowers cut down on patio time and call for more simple meals.
So, dinner- I'd been given some nice fresh garden green beans:

The beans were steamed until just tender, then refreshed and allowed to drain. From the freezer (starting to get low- need to get an elk this year) came duck breast fillets, the carcass long ago used for stock:

Those were seasoned with a little salt and pepper and thrown into the skillet with a little butter:

allowed to rest a few minutes, then thinly sliced:

and then added to mixed greens and the green beans and dressed with a vinaigrette sweetened with a bit of pomegranate syrup:

Accompanied by the best baguette in the area and a nice light bottle of wine, it's done.

Hard to get more simple than that!


Matt Mullenix said...

Some beautiful fillets!

What's the first season to open for you out there?

mdmnm said...

Hey Matt,

Thanks! If I recall correctly, a mallard drake was the source. Our first season opens 9/1, with dove, grouse, and squirrel. Of those, I usually go for the grouse. Fairly recently, the state extended the season to mid-October and they are nice big birds, though frequently hard to find. I bet a good size blue grouse would be a great challenge for a hard charging Harris!

Matt Mullenix said...

I know some Harris hawks have taken woodland grouse, and plenty folks have taken them with the faster goshawks. I'm sure it's a great flight and a challenge for any hawk.

The closest thing to grouse we have here, in sporting terms, are woodcock (not very close otherwise, I grant you). These you can catch with a well-conditioned (or lucky) Harris, but mine have only come close enough to bump them a bit in the air. If we only had more slips at them...

Quail used to be here in numbers but I've flushed only 1 local covey in 11 years (and that was 11 year ago). They are wonderful quarry for a confident Harris, and mine have taken a small number in Texas hunts over the years--every one a prize. :-)

Rail season will start mid Sept here and we'll be ready. These are prety easy for a Harris, but they're tasty.

mdmnm said...

The mountain grouse out here tend to like meadow edges during most of the season, so you could probably get a slip in the open. They fly about as fast as a quail, but look like they are going more slowly since they are larger. One covey of quail in 11 years is kind of grim.

Matt Mullenix said...

I would love to try more upland game with my hawks. It's about as classy a kind of falconry as it gets, especially with a dog.

But I get only my one week a year in any sort of upland area (TX panhandle); the rest of the year I am stomping around in marshes and cow pastures down here below sea level. :-)

What I do is sort of the underbelly of upland bird hunting, the flip side. Bizzaro World bird hunting, to borrow from the Superman comic. Instead of a classy, textbook accipiter I've got a neotropical "Mexican chicken," and in place of the big square-shouldered pointer, I work behind a paper thin, ravenous whippet.

But the work is very similar, mechanically. On the last day of last season one of the landowner's sons-in-law came out with me. He had just returned from a plantation quail shoot in south Georgia, Elhew pointers and mule-drawn carts, etc. When Rina winded and pointed her bird, and then flushed, and the hawk chased, he just laughed and laughed.

It IS pretty funny when you see it from another context. :-)

Rebecca K. O'Connor said...

That did it. The falcon can eat more quail. I need to see if there's a red hed or something equally tasty left in the freezer. I duck breast salad would chase the summer blues away for a least a meal!

mdmnm said...

Well, hey, Matt-
Gun writers go into all sorts of rhapsodies about shotguns that "point themselves" and "leap to the bird". In your case, your partners not only point & flush but literally leap to the bird! I envy your short trips & local hunting, too. You just need to find a work reason to come out to northern NM in Sept. or October.

mdmnm said...


Good luck in your freezer hunt! This time of year mine, at least, starts to get down to the bits and ends, with a few exceptions.

Matt Mullenix said...

Hey Ive love to come out your way and it's always a possibility. I have a couple good hawking friends in the Sandia Hills area I've visited before, and of course Steve B. further south.

This Thanksgiving I'll be in Amarillo as usual, but this year the national falconers' group (NAFA) is meeting there. If you had any interest in seeing a lot of interesting hunting, maybe you can make it out for a couple days?

mdmnm said...

That meeting would be really interesting and I'd like to see it. Unfortunately for my chances of heading that way, I have an elk tag for northern NM for that same time period, so I'll be busy trying to fill the freezer.

Henry Chappell said...

Great post, Mike. Many thanks! Makes me want to dig through my freezer for those few remaining quail and squirrels.

mdmnm said...

Thanks, Henry

Good luck with your freezer hunt, too!