game meat

Cajun Partridge Casserole

Cajun cuisine from down South is closely related to Acadian cuisine from Acadia and uses most of the same ingredients and techniques. "Cajun" became the term for "Acadian" after the deportation of the French people from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia down to Lousiana in 1755. For generations Acadians depended on their hunting skills to survive. When snow and ice covered the land during a Canadian winter, what they could find to eat was rather limited. However, there were (and there still are), a lot of hare (lièvre) and wild fowl, like partridge (perdrix), to feed one's needs. These animals, though smaller than deer or moose, are more abundant and can be eaten the same day as the hunt. Acadians used meats mostly in stews (fricots as they called it).

Traditional Acadian dishes are straightfoward and are often prepared using a single pot. You can find out more in the cookbook A Taste of Acadie.

Here's a picture of some deer running around the cottage yesterday morning.

  Cajun Partridge Casserole

For this recipe I used the breasts only, the legs, being tougher, require a longer cooking time (so use them in a stew). Of course if you can't get a hold of partridge you can substitute with chicken. Serve on a mix of brown and wild rice.

You'll need: 6-8 partridge breasts cut in half (if using chicken; 3-4 breasts each cut in 5) 1 chopped onion 1 chopped green bell pepper 2 chopped celery stalks 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or tin) 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 teaspoon paprika 1 bay leaf a handful of chopped parlsey a pinch of cayenne salt + ground black pepper

Season the meat with salt. Optional: Marinate overnight in red wine, thyme, salt, pepper and oil. In a sauté pan, heat some oil and brown the partridge for about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside. In a pot, on medium heat, cook the onion, pepper and celery in 2 tablespoons of butter. Once they're soft, add all the other ingredients and the partridge. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use this time to prepare the rice. Season the casserole with salt and be generous with the black pepper.

Serves 4