Embracing small birds for the holiday

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Southern California native Mark Pasternak has been raising animals at Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Marin County for nearly 50 years. Pasternak began raising rabbits, but 15 years ago started to breed quail, squab, a black-boned and skinned bird  thought to be the oldest breed in the world called a silkie chicken, and the French variety Bresse chicken. Pasternak suggests spatchcocking smaller birds to cook evenly and minimize cooking time and grilling, broiling or barbecuing. David Chang recommends pairing richer meats with rice and sauteed apples. If you’re in Los Angeles and are considering a smaller bird, the following butcher shops are carrying turkey alternatives:

A CUT ABOVE BUTCHER SHOP (*Available for pre-order, no walk-ins)
-Shelton Farms Cornish Game Hen
-Maple Leaf Farms Whole Duck
-Raw or brined Jidori chickens

-Wild shot hare, pheasant, red-legged partridge, wood pigeon, and grouse from Scotland 

-Liberty Farms ducks in Sonoma
-Pasture-raised chickens from Temecula

As celebrations are smaller this year, consider an alternative to turkey such as these wild shot pheasant, red-legged partridge, wood pigeon and grouse from Scotland available at Gwen in Hollywood.



Evan Kleiman