Introduction: Gourmet Swan Meat Burgers

Turn the meat from wild swan into delicious burgers.

Recently I had the opportunity to go hunting and I managed to shoot a swan, if you find this offensive please do not read on.

Searching for recipes for swan meat on the web prove fruitless the only thing I did find was plenty off opinion that swan is tough, grisily mud flavoured meat that is nearly inedible. This is certainly not true. I thought I'd give it a go anyway as I believe if you kill something you should use as much of it as possible. Killing anything just for the fun of it is blood lust.

Firstly I'm going to assume you have LEGALLY obtained some swan meat. In New Zealand where I'm posting this from it is legal to shoot 1 swan per day in most parts of the country during duck hunting season. ALWAYS check with local authorities before blowing the S?#t out of anything. I'm sure they are protected in some parts of the world.

I'm also assuming you know how to harvest the meat from the bird. google or youtube search 'breasting out a goose' will give you some idea of what is involved.

Step 1: First Experiments With Swan

After I had boned out the breast meat I decided to see what the meat was actually like. So I egg and crumbed a few of the tenderloins and then shallow fried them. I cooked the meat till just well done.

Swan meat is very lean there was about a quarter of a teaspoon of fat on each breast so it is important not to over cook game as it can become tough and dry.

HOW DID TASTE?- Well, those people who had been telling me it was tough and foul tasting were wrong. The Meat was very tender indeed, I think this was helped cooking over a medium heat and not over cooking the meat. Swan does however have a very gamey taste, it's one of those tastes you either like it or you don't.

Certainly all myths about taste and toughness have been dispelled, but with almost no recipes available I was left wondering what to do with the rest of the meat?

Step 2: Enter the Hamburger

Burgers are a one of my favourites and there's nothing like a nice flavoursome patty, so I decided to see how swan would work in a burger.

the key to successfully cooking game is to match the intensity of the flavours.

for this patty recipe I used;

1 swan breast (about 1lb)
a few dashes of worcestershire sauce
Bread crumbs
1 egg (optional if the meat is looking a bit dry add an egg otherwise leave it out)

You'll also obviously need;

burger buns
lettuce, tomato etc
and fruit chutney- Iike tamarillo (red egg shaped south american fruit) but peach, apple will work well.

Step 3: Get Making

If you have a mincer then feed the meat and herbs through it, other wise you can make a coarse mince by chopping the breast into smaller and smaller pieces with a knife. If you do use a mincer put a slice of bread through after the meat to push any left over mince through when the bread starts to come through turn off the machine.

Add worcestershire sauce and pepper and mix.
Note I don't add salt to patties of marinates as salt can draw moisture out of the meat instead I salt the meat just before cooking or even after cooking.

check the consistence of the mince, when you stir it it should stick together reasonably well if it doesn't bind well add an egg and a handfull of bread crumbs this will help the patties hold together during cooking.

Step 4: Form and Refrigerate

Once you have mixed the ingredience devide into 4 even sized portions.

Form into balls- you can do this by cupping the meat in your hands, I like to throw the meat from hand to hand a few time to help it bind.

Squash the meat into patties.

Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour, this stops the patties from breaking up during the cooking.

Step 5: Cook, Assemble and Enjoy.

While the patties are in the fridge prepare buns tomatoes etc...

cook the patties to well done, then assemble the burgers. I served the with lettuce, tomato, dill pickle and chutney.