Hungry? Try cooking up woodcocks or moose nose

Posted July 14, 2010, at 7:17 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:20 p.m.

Editor’s Note: The Best of Bud is a compilation of some of the advice and recipes gathered by the late Ralph W. “Bud” Leavitt who retired as BDN’s executive sports editor and outdoor editor in the fall of 1988. He continued to write a weekly column for the paper until his death on Dec. 20, 1994. During his nearly half-century as the BDN’s outdoor columnist he penned more than 13,000 columns and one book, “Twelve Months in Maine.” He starred in his own TV program, “The Bud Leavitt Show,” that aired on the Hildreth Network for 20 years and the nationally acclaimed “Woods and Waters” outdoor program on the Public Broadcasting System. While some of the people Bud interviewed have died, their contributions and memories remain with us.

Dr. Alonzo Garcelon’s grape and woodcock

One of Maine’s foremost bench-shooting advocates and sportsman is an Augusta dentist, Dr. Alonzo P. Garcelon.

Garcelon has hunted game around the world. His trophy room contains all the evidence.

I tell you this only to emphasize that Dr. Garcelon’s supper favorite comes from the woods, within five miles of his Augusta office.

“I know no other game bird offering a tastier eating quality than the marvelous and tiny woodcock,” he says.

Dr. Garcelon’s favorite method of preparing woodcock for the table:

“Since woodcocks are so small, figure on one to two per person. Sprinkle the woodcock inside and out with pepper, salt and flour.

“Brown all sides in generous amounts of butter.

“Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Add a handful of seedless green grapes and cook for another five minutes. I then add 2 tablespoons of dry Madeira and cook for another two minutes. If I am at home or at camp in Rangeley, I usually serve the birds on toast with the pan juices. You can complete the job by cooking up some wild rice. Makes an excellent breakfast, lunch or even dinner.”

Take my words, friends. The Dr. Garcelon way of preparing the rich and tasty woodcock is a showstopper.

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Moose Nose Stew

Mrs. Esther D. Charette of Portland Road, Marlborough, Conn., gave me her favorite recipe for cooking moose nose.

Esther told me she acquired this bit of knowledge from her uncle and well-known North Woods personality, colorful Sam Jalbert of Fort Kent.

Since Maine’s last legal hunting of moose occurred in 1935, I have often wondered how my old friend Sam discovered the way to cook a moose’s nose. Likely, Sam was speaking from memory, recalling his boyhood days when moose were more plentiful than black flies on the Black River in June.

Are you ready for this?

1 moose nose

1 medium onion

¼ cup butter

1 small rabbit (to camouflage the smell of moose meat cooking, Sam told Esther!)

salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter in deep skillet; saute onion over medium heat. Chop meat in small pieces; add onion and cook until richly browned. Add water, salt and pepper and simmer gently for two hours.

Esther Charette says the only drawback to this old-time recipe is that you need to make sure the rabbit is very small, realizing some folk are easily turned off when they discover a hare in the stew.

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