In which I share a story about a buzzard (plus a recipe)

We often see buzzards riding thermals overhead when we're out riding,
(in this part of the world we call them "turkey vultures" -- it's the same bird)
and when we do, I tell this story.

The days are (slowly) getting brighter now!

M’su Carencro and Mangeur de Poulet (Cajun South, USA)

One day, M’su Carencro, the buzzard, was sitting on a fence post, waiting for something to drop dead so he could eat it for his supper, when up flapped ol’ Mangeur de Poulet, the chicken hawk.

“Hey, ça va, mon ami?” asked that ol’ chicken hawk.

“Ah, ça va mal! Not good at all,” answered the buzzard.  "I am so hungry. But nothing, nothing has died. And so there is no supper for me.”

“What are you talking about,” said that know-it-all Mangeur de Poulet.  “You’re a bird, aren’t you?  Got a beak, got you some wings, got big ol’ talons on your big ol’ feet?  You gotta get out and get you some supper, my friend.”

Non, non,” said Buzzard.  “I’m supposed to wait until something drops dead.  That’s the way le Bon Dieu, the Good God, made me.”

“Don’t tell me about the Good God,” said Chicken Hawk.  “I’m gonna show you how a real bird gets some supper.  You just wait there on that fence post, and watch how it’s done.”

That ol’ Chicken Hawk, he took off into the sky, did some fancy flying around, some loop-the-loops and figure eights up there in the clouds, and when he looked down, there was Buzzard, still sitting on his fence post, waiting for something to drop dead. 

Down at the bottom of Buzzard’s fence post, pecking away without a care in the world, was a big, fat, red chicken. 

“I’ll show that ol’ Buzzard,” said Chicken Hawk, and he took him into a deep fast dive towards the ground, right at that fat chicken.  

But that chicken, she was smart-smart.  Saw the shadow of Mangeur de Poulet comin’ down from the sky, and jumped quick under the fence.  Chicken Hawk, he was coming down so fast he couldn’t slow down, couldn’t stop, and he slammed—blam—into that fencepost, and dropped dead right there.

Buzzard, he looked down at that dead chicken hawk.  Then he raised up his eyes to Heaven and said, “Merci beaucoup, mon Grand Bon Dieu!  Thank you, Good God Almighty, thank you!  It’s suppertime!”

Monica’s Recipe for Rooster Soup
First, try catch the rooster. You will then eat those dubious leftovers at the bottom of the fridge or get a pizza because you are too tired to do anything else.

Monica’s “Bottom of the Fridge” Frittata
This is not really a recipe, it’s more of formula.  You will need at least 10-12 eggs and some cheese.  The rest is whatever you have on hand or in the garden.  Also needed: a skillet which can to go from stovetop to oven, so  cast iron is best, 10-12” in diameter.  

As for the cheese, most kinds will work -- probably not blue cheese, though an inventive chef might make that work.  It does not need to be expensive or refined - shredded cheddar or jack cheese is fine, about one cup, grated., ⅓ cup cheese will be added into the eggs, the rest on top.

As for the part that makes it a frittata, anything that works in an omelet will do:

Ground or sliced sausage, bacon or ham, smoked salmon
Onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes
Kale or spinach or other cookable leafy greens
Substantive vegetables cut into small pieces, butternut squash, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower.

My editor claims that shredded carrots work.  I tend to avoid a lot of root vegetables as they are a bit heavy, but then, I have used things like sliced cold lasagne.  Bottom of the fridge, remember?

I recommend some restraint - more than 3 or 4 ingredients will turn it into a sludge, If you end up with a huge of ingredients, add more eggs.

Step One: preheat oven and break your eggs into a bowl and fork-whisk them until loosely blended, grate your cheese and add one-third to eggs.

Step Two: Saute meat and vegetable ingredients on low/medium heat, using butter for preference, although you can use oil or bacon grease.  As for the amount of fat - enough to brown the meat, onions or peppers, plus a little bit more, as it will also have to reduce the stickage of the frittata.  If you are using a substantive vegetable like broccoli or butternut squash, you may want to steam or nuke it just a bit first, depending on the size of your chunks.  Add greens at the last minute so as not to overcook them.  Season the mix (salt and pepper, possibly garlic powder) to taste.

Step Three: Your oven is hot now because you pre-heated it to 300, right?  If not, you may want to wait until it does before proceeding.  Add egg+cheese mixture and cook for a couple of minutes until the egg shows slight signs of firming at the very edge. Remove from heat and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.

Step Four:  Place your frittata pan oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (check at 15).  When the middle doesn’t jiggle, it’s nearly done.  If desired, brown the top by broiling on High with oven door ajar so you can supervise --  a minute or two should be enough-- do not walk away unless you want to better aquainted with your local firemen.

If you are a patient person, wait 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving on plates.  Otherwise, enjoy it right out of the pan (fork recommended).


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