Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Original Colonial NZ Recipe for Pukeko

 Tried  & Tested Pukeko  Recipe

 When the Early Settlers arrived in NZ c 1800s, the colonists   were obliged to eat what bounty the  natural bush environs offered up to them. Many new Kiwi were bachelor men living in bush camps and coastal shanty, cooking methods were by necessity crude  and   feckless, drinking brew with breakfast.

With a diet of scorbutic leaves and berries, long hours of heavy work breaking the land, traversing the ranges and valleys on foot for miles  required maximal protein. Cattle and sheep were not yet part of the landscape nor prolific as they are today. 

 While NZ has no native mammalian species, there was a large range of native birds(and sometimes insects)available to them. The more common Pukeko Porphyrio melanotus(swamp hen)was handy, easy to catch and a good meal at 1kg or standard poultry size.

 This recipe can be adapted for any larger NZ game bird such as Moa  or  Haast's eagle if you are lucky enough  to catch one.

 To Cook a Pukeko

Large pot, pukeko ( or moa), leather boots ( some recipes suggest brick in preference)

Step 1 

Prepare bird, ensuring all innards are removed and carcass washed.

Step 2

Place  bird and boots  in pot , fill with water to cover

Step 3

Bring to boil and simmer for at least 10 hours

 Step 4

Remove pukeko and boots from pot

Step 5

Throw away  pukeko, serve boots with kumara and puha or  native spinach

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