I am a bad man.
I am a bad, bad man.
Seriously, I am a bad, bad, bad man.
Do you really need evidence?
A couple of weeks ago I was teen-sitting. That is when they are too old to be babysat but too young to drive. My youngest godson, Jaime, and I were supposed to spend the day together running errands but he didn’t feel well so he and I sat talking until his parents got home.
We had run through all of our normal topics of conversation such as school, movies, The Big Bang Theory and Einstein’s Unified Field Theory – yeah, he’s a smart kid – when somehow we got onto the subject of taking a trip one day to the Cincinnati Zoo.
“What do they have that other zoos don’t?” he asked.
Good question. Other zoos have polar bears, gorillas, giraffes, and elephants.
“Well,” I said, “they do have the last passenger pigeon…”
“What’s so special about a pigeon?”
“This is not just any pigeon. It was the last passenger pigeon. It died in 1915 and was stuffed.”
“Cool. So, it’s the last of its kind?” the boy smiled.
“Yep.” I answered.
“We’ve been reading about extinct species in school. Like mammoths, giant sloths and saber toothed tigers.”
“Did you know there are experiments to bring them back?”
“Yeah, I heard they were talking about cloning extinct animals like in “Jurassic Park”. He said.
“That they are but what would be the reason to bring them back?” I asked. “Would it be ethical?”
“Well, if man can kill them off why couldn’t he bring them back as well, Uncle Mike?”
“True, but what would you do with them? It seems so cruel to bring them back just to keep them in a zoo?”
“You could always cook one, ” he said.
“Yeah, didn’t you make pigeon pie for an event?”
BANG! That did it!
Could you imagine being the first person in 100 years to cook a passenger pigeon?!?
A flavor no human being alive could ever have experienced!
My eyes began to glaze as images flashed through my mind.
But what about other animals?
Saber-toothed tiger steaks?
Carribean harbor seal sausage?
Giant sloth ragout?
Dodo stuffed with marzipan?
Tasmanian tiger a flambe?
OM MY GOD!!! Can you imagine?
But how would you do it? My mind raced.
Where to find a pot big enough?
We would have to start with a recipe for some other large animal like a moose.
Red wine, of course, to remove the “wild” flavor.
Maybe some cracked juniper.
Marinating for at least 24 hours.
Braise or bake?
We could always cook it in a pit like a pig —
Or on swords the Brazilian way —
Garlic, of course —
And, thyme or dill to bring out the underlying flavors —
SAFFRON RICE STUFFING!!!
Or even –
“Uncle Mike?” said Jaime as he shook my shoulder. “Your drooling.”
Damn. The spell was broken.
And on to other topics.
But, can you imagine?
NOW LET’S DO IT RIGHT!
Pigeons, 2 large
Onion, 2 large red
Leek, 4 oz.
Garlic, 1 whole bulb
Pepper, fresh ground
Parsley, 1 oz.
Red wine, 4 cups
Olive oil, 1/2 cup
Brandy, 1 cup
Mushrooms, 8 oz.
- Start by making your best pie crust.
- Chop all of the vegetables and place aside but do not mix.
- Put 1/2 the onion, all the leek and all carrots in a deep pan along with the olive oil.
- Braise over a low heat.
- When brown, add the garlic, remainder of the onion, parsley and mushrooms along with the wine over a low heat.
- Add the spices to taste.
- Once mushrooms are thoroughly cooked, add the pigeons to the sauce.
- Cook the pigeons for approximately two hours. Remove from heat.
- Once the pigeons cool, remove them from the sauce and debone the pigeons. Discard the bones and skin.
- Shred the meat and add it to the sauce and mix along with the brandy.
- Line a pie pan with dough.
- Fill the pie pan with the meat mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Use the remainder of the crust to cover the pie and wash it with egg.
- Brown the pies in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
- Serves four.
Copyright Micheal J Hobbs 2017