How the Indians prepare stuffing for their waterfowl

Posted Oct. 15, 2010, at 3:16 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 the Bangor Daily News 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,” which 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 folks Bud interviewed have died, their contributions and memories remain with us.

Our fishing party included former North Carolina governor and then Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s outdoor columnist David Roberts, and the late Art Smith, the artistic outdoor historian of the New York Herald tribune.

We met in Montreal and flew to Calgary, Edmonton, and then into Canada’s Northwest Territory and Great Bear Lake.

The fishing was, as you might expect, rather spectacular.

My guide was an old-timer, a Slave Indian. The poor fellow had no idea how old he was. Allowing the wear and tear of living in that barren, lonely part of the world, I guessed him to be 50 years old and looking like he might be 70.

He could do a passable job cooking a freshly-caught trout, but on ptarmigan or wild goose, he was expert. The secret I was to discover — a unique and different way of preparing birds, including waterfowl.

I have used his recipe to stuff grouse, pheasant, black duck and Canada geese, and if you are seeking something out of the ordinary, go the following route:

6 bacon stripes, fried crisp. Crumble bacon into bits.

Prepare corn bread mix according to directions on the package. Add bacon bits and cranberries.

1 heaping cup of cranberries will do it.

Bake the corn bread and allow to cool slightly. Crumble the corn bread.

Tear coarse whole-wheat bread into small chunks until you have about twice as much whole-wheat bread as corn bread.

Combine the breads and season to suit your taste with salt, pepper and leaf or rubbed sage.

Add 1 slightly beaten egg.

Bring water to a boil in the pan in which the bacon was cooked and pour over the other ingredients. The amount of water depends on quantity of stuffing desired.

Mix ingredients lightly. Pack into bird cavity.

Bake as for any other bird, chicken, turkey, etc.

This stuffing is excellent and can be used with moose heart, roast moose, venison or caribou.

I have found we like our stuffing or dressing rather moist and packed into the cavity firmly. Several of my friends have attempted the making of this stuffing and report they prefer a dryer stuffing, and packed loosely.

Suit yourself.

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