Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Peacock Parmigiana

Our family has a pretty unusual occupation; we make our living selling feathers, mostly peacock and turkey feathers. One of the benefits of our business is that we end up with the meat from around 800 peacocks and turkeys every year. Peacocks and turkeys are a pest species and can be found on farms all over New Zealand. Peacock, like turkey is a white meat, whiter than chicken and with a flavour and texture similar to free range chicken – we like it a lot. Low in fat and carbohydrates, but high in protein, they are both healthy choices.

Over the years I have created quite a list of recipes for this yummy meat, and in all them you can use chicken.  If you are ever given wild peacock or turkey breast meat, there is a way of preparing it for cooking that will stop it being tough – it is all in the filleting.

Wild meat has a bad reputation for being tough – it is an unfair reputation that a little extra care negates. Wild fowl has quite a thick muscle fascia on the outside of the breast; you will realise how tough it is if you try and cut into it – good luck! The best way to deal with it is to fillet it off. Simply place your breast fascia side down, hold one end and slide your knife between that lovely soft meat and the outside of the breast, getting as close to the fascia as possible. We save those filleted fascias for making salami but they also make good food for dogs and cats. Once your breast is free of the tough stuff, slice in half and prepare them for the Parmigiana.

Kia makona, Mawera x

Peacock, Turkey or Chicken Parmigiana
2 cans of crushed  tomatoes
2 spring onions, sliced (reserve the tops for garnish)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch sugar
Palm full of fresh, sliced Basil and or Oregano. If fresh is not available, please use 1tsp each of dried.
Salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless fowl  breasts, sliced in half to make them easier to cook through
1/2 cup plain flour
Salt and pepper
2 tsp of Made by Mawera "Big Red" seasoning (available at Fresh Market and Hunting & Fishing)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4c milk
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 pack spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente
Rice bran or Olive oil for frying.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Oil your plan and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions and garlic, cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the basil and oregano. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Prepare the fowl. Put the flour on a plate and season with the Big Red seasoning or if not available,  use a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork. In a bowl, combine the egg and milk, beat until the egg is broken up. Put the bread crumbs on another plate.

Heat a good glug of oil over medium-high heat. Lightly dredge both sides of the fowl cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Spoon half the tomato sauce over the cutlets. Arrange the Parmesan and the sliced tops of spring onion on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Mix the remaining sauce through your pasta and serve Parmigiana over the top.

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