As this is written the June North Dakota wind is howling out of the east at a 30-45 mph steady clip, bringing with it welcome rain and a new agenda: work will be indoors today. An east wind is always dangerous here because it brings weather and pushes against the natural grain of the landscape, buildings and inhabitants, all of which lean chronically to the southeast due to our prevailing northwest winds.
After installing some new outlets and lights in the basement it was time for supper and we were glad the crockpot was ready with some delicious Italian Chicken which I had thrown together this morning. This chicken recipe, see below, is a variation of the best goose recipe around – Italian Goose sandwiches. The guys at Illinois DNR absolutely nailed this one on the head – easy to make, easy to eat, sloppy and delicious. You can let it simmer in the crockpot all day or overnight, doesn’t matter, but when you ladle a load of that hot, juicy “loose-meat” goose onto your bun or over noodles or rice you’ll know why you practice tooting the goose flute…and your pals might mistakenly think you can actually cook!
Plus, the missus and the kids will likely mistaken it for beef. Like I said, this recipe is a winner. Go here to see the entire recipe for Goose Italian Style: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OI/Pages/RPGooseItalianStyle.aspx
Now, if you don’t have any geese in the freezer, try this “preseason” variation with chicken.One pound chicken thighs, bone-in, skin off.
One large green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups chopped celery
One tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup chopped green olives
¼ cup chopped jalapeno peppers
¼ cup cider vinegar (or wine vinegar or white)
1 packet au juice mix OR dry Italian Seasoning OR one cup Italian salad dressing
One 14-16 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
Two good shots of olive oil
Thaw the thighs the night before or in micro. Put them in bottom of the crockpot, mix everything else together and pour on top. Cook 6-8 hours on high until meat falls off the bones. Serve on buns, over noodles or rice. Expect fighting for seconds.
TIPS: Don’t use chicken breasts unless you are afraid of flavor (like eating a mallard rather than a canvasback --- don’t do it unless you’re desperate!) Chicken thighs – cheaper, better, much more flavorful. I have used dry Bloody Mary mix to good effect rather than the Italian seasoning. Substitute for any ingredient as needed; more or less, it’s up to you. If using dry mix add a cup of water. Pick out the bones before serving. You can remove the bones from the thighs prior to cooking but you are discarding flavor in the process.
Try the chicken recipe now but tuck the goose recipe away for this fall. It will become one of your crowd-pleasing standards at duck camp and a great change-up for first night at deer camp.
author is a former US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Department of
Agriculture manager. In retirement he
owns and operates Prairie Smoke Ranch, located in central North Dakota, the
duck hunting hub of the northern plains. All rights reserved.