Wander Woman - Kansas brought new clinics and events for women last year, and made incredible new friendships and connections during those workshops. One of the most memorable events from the year occurred with an all-ladies sandhill crane hunt in Oklahoma.
Thirteen women came together from different parts of Kansas and Missouri to experience a hunt that none of the women had ever participated in before. I arranged with Fowl Okie Guided Hunts earlier in the year about hosting an all-women's hunt. These amendable outfitters jumped on the opportunity to support Wander Woman's mission and to have the women out for their first crane hunt.
Women ranged from avid experienced hunters to total beginners, but none of the women had ever been sandhill crane hunting. We ended up harvesting 27 birds, 2 birds per hunter - the limit being 3.
After the hunt, we made our way to where we would all have the chance to learn about the bird and how to field dress it. The great thing I am discovering about Wander Woman, is that all participants are eager to join in on the experience and to be involved - even in the field dressing and clean up. Everyone left the event with food to add to their freezer, along with new friends and memories. They left knowing they had learned more about a bird they'd only heard about before now.
Some ladies went straight home to share their harvest with their families for dinner that night. No one is going to pass up the famous "Ribeye of the sky!"
Ribeye of the sky Recipe
One of the biggest reasons I love to hunt is to fill my freezer. I get just as excited researching and planning recipes as I do heading out to the field. If you know anything about hunting sandhill cranes, they are referred to as the “Ribeye of the sky.” I knew when I was planning to cook my harvest, that I wanted to keep the breast meat as close to its natural state as possible.
I decided to treat the meat as you would a piece of steak. This recipe I chose was a great way to enjoy the flavor of the meat without adding too many ingredients to alter it.
Seared Sandhill Crane with a Bourbon Butter Sauce
Two Crane Breasts
2 Small Shallots Minced
2 Cloves Garlic Minced
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Beef Stock
⅓ Cup Bourbon
2 Tablespoons Roughly Cracked Peppercorns
Season crane breast with salt and peppercorns on both sides.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet and sear the crane breast. Sear for 4-5 minutes on each side then transfer the breast meat to a baking sheet to place in the oven while you start the bourbon sauce. Roughly 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare.
While the breast meat is in the oven, sauté the shallots and the garlic in the cast iron you cooked the crane in. About 2 minutes stirring often. If you do not have a cast iron skillet you can use a pan you have on hand.
Add the beef stock and reduce by half, then add the bourbon and continue to cook until most of the alcohol has cooked off, around 2 to 3 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste regularly and season with salt as needed.
Remove the crane breast from the oven to allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the bourbon butter sauce on the side or slice breast meat and cover with the sauce to serve.
We love to have roasted asparagus and our favorite smashed baked potatoes with our steaks. I knew that would be the perfect pairing to my crane recipe.