Get ready to get your sweet and savory fix on as dijon mustard and sage balance out the sweetness of apricot and honey to create a new and delicious way to cook your favorite game bird!
2 chukars with skin on (can substitute other game birds or chicken — please note cooking times will vary).
1/4 cup Apricot Honey glaze (keep scrolling for my recipe below!)
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup kosher salt
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
5 sage leaves, chopped
Juice and rind from half a lemon
1 large sprig of sage
1 Lemon, quartered
Celery (if you do not have roasting pan)
Pour 4 cups of hot tap water over the brine ingredients (this steeps the herbs and opens up the flavors). Let mixture cool to room temperature before submerging the birds, cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours.
Remove the chukars and pat them dry. Let the birds sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats to 425°F.
Lightly salt the birds — keep in mind they'll already be a little salty from the brine, so salt sparingly. Also dust birds with paprika.
Put a lemon wedge and sprig of sage into the chukar’s cavity. (This step is optional and may increase baking time by a few minutes.)
If you do not have a roasting pan, place a layer of celery at the bottom of your baking dish — these are to keep the chukars up off the bottom of the pan so they cook evenly and don’t sit in their juices.
Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Check for doneness with a thermometer. You want it to be about 155°F.
Brush birds with glaze on for the final 5-10 minutes. (Since the glaze contains sugar, it burns easily, so keep an eye on it.)
Drizzle remaining glaze over chukars before serving. Enjoy!
Apricot Honey Glaze
1 jar (13 ounces) apricot preserves
3 tablespoons Nature Nate’s honey
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt
Bring jam, honey, butter, mustard, and lemon zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to medium-low; simmer until thickened and reduced by half (about 15 minutes).
Turn off heat; stir in a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt.
I’m a go big or go home, just go for it type in the kitchen. Sometimes I create masterpieces, other times I serve my friends raw meat… I want you be more successful trying this for the first time than I was.
Keep in mind that tying the legs together, stuffing them, and squeezing four together in a pan (instead of the two I originally planned this recipe for), WILL increase cooking time — I probably should have cooked them for another 20 mins (and used a thermometer that wasn’t broken)… but I'm here to help you learn from my mistakes.
But most importantly: ENJOY the process! You’re trying something new, and that’s amazing! Keep at it and you’ll become a game-cooking pro in no time :)
Special thanks to Nature Nate's for sponsoring this recipe!
Another special thanks to my dad for harvesting the chukar and to the Mihranian family for letting me use their kitchen!
Cooking technique inspired by: @huntgathercook