Hunter's Paella

October 21, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Tis the season. I often equate the areas around the Pyrenees as having a long tradition of game hunting. From birds like partridge and quail to wild boar. It also seems that all countries have a blood sausage tradition. Well you can see where I am going with this. Let me just say there is something about bird hunting in the pine forests of southern Indiana for ruffed grouse that is like no other to me. The only thing that beats faster than the wings of a Ruffed Grouse is your heart as it pumps adrenaline clear up to the tip of your trigger finger. You have to be Jesse James fast because the bird will cross the pine rows and be gone. I always figured if you bagged ten of these birds in a life time you were a great hunter. In the case of this paella if you are not a hunter or don't like wild game cornish game hens would be a perfectly acceptable substitution and in fact I am going to write the recipe that way. The picture above is a pheasant from a hunting trip to South Dakota. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • olive oil
  • 1 cornish game hen, pheasant or other game bird, but not duck, quarted, back removed
  • 4 thin slices of applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 to 2 boudin noir, failing that chorizo, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 onions, julienned, about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 granny smith apples, small dice
  • 1 handful of cilantro, minced, about a 1/2 cup
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Season each of the four pieces of game hen with salt and pepper then wrap each quarter with a piece of bacon.
  2. Place a 14 inch paella pan or saute pan over medium high head and add the oil. Place each piece of game hen skin side down and brown the pieces. Turn and brown the other side. You want to cook these long enough that they are close to done. Remove the pieces to a plate. Do the same with the blood sausage.
  3. Add another glug of olive oil and add the onions. Turn down the heat if necessary and cook them until they begin to brown.
  4. Add the pepitas, the aleppo pepper, Mexican oregano, cumin ancho powder and 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Stir and once it becomes fragrant add the rice. Stir to coat the rice with oil and then add the apples and wine. Let the wine reduce and then add the stock. Season with a teaspoon of salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Place the chicken attractively on top and bring the whole thing to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and let the rice gently bubble. Nestle the sausage into the rice. Keep an eye on the liquid making sure it isn't reducing to fast. If the rice is was crunchy and the liquid almost gone add a half a cup more of stock.
  6. Check to see that the chicken, this should take about 20 to 25 minutes, is done and that the rice is tender. A crust should have on the bottom. Remove from the heat and let the whole thing rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve.
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  • Table9
  • pierino
  • thirschfeld
  • Heyjude159

8 Reviews

Heyjude159 September 21, 2020
I never leave reviews. But I just have to do so in this case. Awesome recipe. We were so pleasantly surprised by the richness, depth, complexity and flavor of this intriguing recipe. It is not traditional in the sense of a purest, who cares!!!! It’s awesome. We used dove. And a different sausage. Just regular old sausage. Amazing. Thank you!
Table9 October 27, 2010
It is my favorite bird as well! Yes, I am a southerner...from Alabama, did the dove hunting give it away?ha. Since I am a southerner I may try andouille with it, now that is some great sausage! Cannot wait to try this, because I typically cook a dove gumbo or stuff the breast with cream cheese, wrap in bacon and grill....
thirschfeld October 27, 2010
I stuff them with Jalapeno cream cheese and bacon wrap them but I usually don't grill them
Table9 October 27, 2010
Do you bake?
Table9 October 27, 2010
I dove you think dove would be alright in this dish?
thirschfeld October 27, 2010
Well, I was originally going to make this with dove. Possibly my favorite game bird. The first season ended here and the second begins soon. I am guessing you are a southerner? It might be really rich with the boudin noir. I might try Surrey sausage.
pierino October 21, 2010
Dude, boudin noir! Black pudding! You are so speaking my language. The way I see it, if an animal is going to die for your dinner you should be willing to consume every edible part from nose to tail. Rock on brother!
thirschfeld October 21, 2010
One of these days I am going to butcher the whole pig right here at home. I have broke down 3 deer, lots chickens, and next will be a goat and then we will graduate to a pig. Boudin noir will be on the dinner menu the that night.