Stuffed Sandhill Crane Thighs
In 2020, Alberta recognized its first sandhill crane hunting season. Hunters excitedly watched the sky for long legs and necks. Sandhill cranes have a reputation of being extremely good to eat, with the breast meat often compared to a good beef ribeye steak.
Although cranes look large, they average only 7-8 pounds as their long hollow bones don’t weigh much. Their long legs are powered by wide muscular thighs that shouldn’t be overlooked when cleaning your harvest. You can easily bone out the thighs for a variety of different dishes. Connective tissues in the thigh require a longer cooking process, like braising, or can be fast-tracked with a modern pressure cooker pot like in this recipe.
- 4 crane thighs, boned removed
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup beef broth
- ½ cup flour
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Set the pressure cooker to Sauté, add the bacon and cook until it starts to render. Add mushrooms and onions, sautéing until slightly translucent.
- Open the thighs and add a large spoonful of the mushroom mixture. Fold the meat over and use a toothpick to seal along the edge.
- Dredge the thighs in flour and place them back into the cooker set to Sauté. Brown on all sides then cancel the Sauté function.
- Add the beef broth and place the lid and pressure valve on the pot. Cook on High Pressure for 40 minutes. Let the pot depressurize on its own for 30-45 minutes on the Warm setting.
- Carefully remove the thighs. If desired, the juices can be thickened with flour or cornstarch to make a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.