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Stuffed Wild Birds with Mushroom Sauce
And because I can't leave well enough alone, I've added a dash of créme fraiche to finish the sauce; it adds a bit of decadence to our lean wild birds.
Serves 4, with enough sauce for a party
For the birds:
- 1 cup coarsely chopped wild mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup sheep's feta or herbed goat cheese, crumbled
- breasts from 4 grouse or pheasant, boned
- 4 strips of bacon
- 1 Tbsp. butter
For the sauce:
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 8-10 wild mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 ounce goat cheese
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup white wine
- dollop of créme fraiche (optional)
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- First, prepare the birds. If the breasts are small, pound them with a meat tenderizer between pieces of wax paper to flatten them out a bit.
- Sauté the chopped mushrooms in butter with the rosemary in a medium frying pan. Once they have softened and browned, set aside and let cool.
- For each breast, open it flat like a book and place a generous dab of cheese in the center. Top with 1/4 of the mushroom mixture. Roll up, wrap with bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Set aside until ready to grill.
- Next, prepare the sauce. Simmer chicken broth over medium heat until reduced by half.
- In a medium frying pan, sauté the whole mushrooms in olive oil. When soft, after 10 minutes or so, puree the mushrooms with a small amount of the reduced chicken broth in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
- Add mushroom puree to reduced broth along with the butter, goat cheese, lemon juice, and rosemary, and vigorously whisk to combine. Cook for 10 minutes over low heat, and add 1/2 cup white wine. Taste, and add salt and pepper. If you have créme fraiche on hand, add a spoonful to the sauce while whisking.
- While the sauce is simmering, grill the birds over a medium/high heat source (140-160ºF), or heat under a broiler, until the bacon is just done. Avoid overcooking the birds, or using a very hot grill, as the meat will easily become dried out.
- To serve, place a puddle of mushroom sauce on each plate, and top with a grilled bird. Or serve the birds on a platter with the sauce on the side.