Pukeko Patties Recipe

SpotX Wild Foods Recipe from Mark Airey
Prep:12 hours Cook:20 minutes Difficulty:1
  • 4 pukeko breasts.
  • 200 grams of streaky bacon, remove rind.
  • 2 onions, diced.
  • 3 tablespoons cheap sherry.
  • 1 egg.
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste.
  • Garlic salt.
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs.
  • Mince pukeko breasts and bacon together.
  • Add onion, egg, garlic and seasoning.
  • Thoroughly mix, using your hands in a bowl.
  • Add and mix enough sherry to get a nice moist consistency.
  • Cover bowl and allow to stand in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
  • Remove mince from the bowl and form into patties.
  • Heat barbecue plate or frying pan to a medium heat.
  • Cook for 10 minutes each side or until cooked through.

Pukeko Pukeko is the Maori name for this colourful and cheeky bird. It means ‘swamp hen’, as the same bird is known in Australia. It is believed to have settled here 1,000 years ago, although there is only fossil proof of its existence here going back 400 years or so.
Pukeko are omnivorous; they are ferocious hunters and live in family packs in swamps and wetlands. Both loved and hated, they can destroy a vegetable garden in a night, tear out newly planted seedlings, kill ducklings and eat the eggs of anything they can find. On the other hand, they are very pretty and cheeky with the flashing white tail feathers and their bright-orange beaks and legs. In New Zealand, Pukeko are a protected native game bird, which means they can only be hunted under license from Fish and Game during the duck-shooting season. Bag limits and seasons vary between regions, so please check your local game bird regulations before setting out on a hunt.
Hunting pukeko with dogs and two or three hunters in a drive through a swamp or wetland can be great sport, as they often flush without warning and fly surprisingly fast.
There is an easy trick to breasting a pukeko that takes less than a minute. It involves taking a dead pukeko, lying it face down on the ground with its legs stretched out towards you. Place a foot on each leg, so your boot covers the whole leg, bend down and take hold of the bird at the base of each wing as close to the body as possible, then stand up, pulling until the breast pulls away with the wings. Tuck these into your bag or belt and leave the rest of the carcass to the harrier hawks. Once mastered, this technique can be achieved as you walk with little disruption to the time spent hunting.
Pukeko breasts are great sliced into strips and barbecued, baked, casseroled or made into game soup. There is no reason to hunt them if you don’t intend to eat them.

Copyright © 2022 Spot X Publications Ltd. All Rights Reserved