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)
Prepare bird, ensuring all innards are removed and carcass washed.
Place bird and boots in pot , fill with water to cover
Bring to boil and simmer for at least 10 hours
Remove pukeko and boots from pot
Throw away pukeko, serve boots with kumara and puha or native spinach