ostrich farm Ostrich – Flightless but Delicious

Ostriches are strangely intriguing. They are an ugly bird that cannot fly but they have huge floppy feathers, some of which are quite beautiful. Their necks are so long and skinny atop their fat round bodies. They run fast and can even be ridden like a horse however they are very temperamental – not at all like a gentle horse. Do not aggravate an ostrich for he is likely to try to poke your eyes out or give you a painful swift kick!

The ostrich is a member of the Ratite genus with origins in Africa. Other ratites or flightless birds include the emu from Australia and the rhea from South America and several other species (including the Dodo) which are now extinct. There are dozens of theories as to why ratites cannot fly but the generally accepted theory these days is that the ratites descended from flying birds but their wings became useless because they did not need them to survive. Seems like they did the right thing since studies show the ratites have been around for 80 million years!!

Ostriches are the largest of all living birds in the world. Their eggs are approximately 6 inches long, 5 inches around and weigh up to 3 pounds. The young chicks need to be cared for in much the same way as other small chicks except that these youngsters start out weighing a couple of pounds and standing 10 to 12 inches tall. They grow quickly and within 16 months or so the males reach up to 8 feet tall and weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. Most of their height is attributable to those long skinny necks and those long powerful legs. An ostrich can run up to 40 miles per hour and, as mentioned above, can deliver a dangerously powerful kick when aggravated or defending itself.

Farm-raised ostriches are kept in fenced-in pastures. The fences are at least 6 feet tall since the ostriches can jump quite high (again with the powerful legs!) They are grazing animals and like to roam in the pasture feeding on plants. The farm-raised ostriches also receive grain supplements to keep them well-fed.

Ostrich meat is very lean. It is dark red in color and has a mild flavor. Some might compare it to beef tenderloin – dark in color, very lean and mild. Per ostrich serving, you can expect to get about 100 calories, 25 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat. When compared to beef, ostrich offers about 87% less fat than ground beef and when compared to chicken breast, it has about 33% less fat. No matter how one looks at it, ostrich is a nutritious alternative to more standard fare.

Ostrich, in fact all ratites, are inspected by the USDA for wholesomeness just as all other poultry is inspected. Ostrich is best cooked using high heat such as pan searing, roasting or grilling. But like other cuts of beef with very low fat, the chef must be careful not to overcook the meat. Overcooked ostrich is dry and bland (speaking from personal experience unfortunately!).

Below are a few recipe suggestions:

Ostrich in Phyllo Dough
Glazed Apricot Ostrich Kebabs
Asian Satay with Sesame Seeds on Skewers Ostrich Steak with Fettuccini
Ostrich Fillet Mexicana
Honey Glazed Ostrich kebabs
Ostrich and Tortellini Soup
Ostrich Boreks
Ostrich Jambalaya
Ostrich Wontons


Ostrich in Phyllo Dough

8 oz. Ostrich, ground
1 pkg. Spinach, thawed
8 oz. Cream cheese
1 pkg Knorr Swiss Vegetable soup Mix 6 tbs. Butter, melted

Keep phyllo sheets covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processsor add ground ostrich meat, cream cheese, drained spinach, and soup mix. Process for about 15 seconds. Lay phyllo on a flat surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Cut the sheets lengthwise into four strips (about 18″ x 3″). Place about a tablespoon of mixture one inch from the bottom edge of a strip. Take bottom corner of the strip and fold it over the mixture at a 45 degree angle from the other corner. Continue folding just as you would a flag to form a triangle that encloses the filling. Repeat for each strip. If desired, place a fresh sprig of dill, parsley, pimiento or olive slice under the last phyllo layer for a garnish. Place on a cookie sheet with a garnish on top. Brush the tops with butter and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a golden brown. Makes 36 pieces.


Glazed Apricot Ostrich Kebabs

1-LB ostrich meat cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbs. butter
4 tbs. orange liqueur (or orange concentrate) 1 jar (10 oz) apricot preserves
4 bamboo skewers

Heat preserves, orange liqueur and butter in a small saucepan until butter is melted. Allow to cool. Place meat and marinade in a plastic bag; seal and marinade for 1 hour. Thread cubes onto a skewer and grill over hot coals for about 8 to 10 minutes, basting often with marinade. (Skewers may be garnished with mandarin orange slice, cherry, bell pepper chunk or other colorful items either before or after grilling.)


Asian Satay With Sesame Seeds On Skewers

This satay is great on its own, but may want to try it with a Southeast peanut sauce. If you use bamboo skewers, soak them for 30 minutes before threading the meat.

1/3 cup of soy sauce
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp minced ginger root
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1-2 tsp. sugar
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 1⁄2 tbs. lightly toasted sesame seeds
1 pound ostrich filet, partially frozen for easy slicing Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Mix together soy sauce, oil, and gingerroot. Garlic, vinegar, sugar, pepper, and sesame seeds. Slice meat on diagonal 1/8 to 1⁄4 inch thick and add to soy mixture. Toss well to coat all the slices and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Prepare grill. Thread meat on skewers. Place skewers on grill rack, not touching each other. Grill over medium-hot to hot coals, basting once or twice with marinade, until meat is lightly browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Cook rare to medium-rare. Do not overcook. Arrange on a clean serving plate and garnish with cilantro. May want to use Southeast peanut sauce for dipping.


Ostrich Steak with Fettuccini (serves 4)

4 6 oz. Ostrich Steaks
1 package Pesto Sauce mix 1 lb Fettuccini
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cups fresh Snow Peas

Steam snow peas until tender. Prepare fettuccini as directed. Prepare pesto sauce as directed. Rub steaks with olive oil. Grill steaks on a high heat to medium doneness and cut into thin strips. (1/4″ thick.) Drizzle pesto sauce over fettuccini and serve with steak strips and snow peas.


Ostrich Fillet Mexicana (Serves 4)

4 Ostrich Fillets (approx. 4 oz.each) 1 Tbsp. butter or Margarine
1 large Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper 1 Green Pepper, chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 cup Beef Bullion, heated 2 Tbsp. Tequila (or Vodka) 3/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 1/8 tsp. White Pepper Tobasco Sauce, to taste

Heat butter in frying pan; saute onions until golden. Add peppers; cook two minutes. Blend tomato paste with bullion; pour over vegetables. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt, white pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Cover and simmer ten minutes. Pat meat with paper towels; rub with black pepper. Heat oil in skillet until very hot; cook meat three minutes per side. Arrange vegetables on pre-heated platter; place steaks on top. Add tequila to pan drippings; scrape any particles from bottom of pan. Season with cayenne pepper and remaining salt. Pour over meat; serve immediately.


Honey Glazed Ostrich Shish-Kebabs

Marinade: 1/5 bottle of red wine
1 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. rosemary
2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 1-2 tsp. Tabasco® sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed 3-4 bay leaves

Ostrich Meat: 6-8 lbs, inside leg and outside leg cuts, trimmed, cut into 1⁄2 inch about cubes.

Vegetables: Tomatoes, onions and green peppers, cut into 1⁄2 inch pieces

Place meat and marinade in a glass or ceramic container, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Skewer, alternating meat with tomato, green pepper and onion. Suspend skewers over shallow pan and baste with honey, allowing excess to run off. Cook over medium fire on a covered grill turning once. Total cooking time is about 10 minutes. Do not overcook.


Honey Glazed Ostrich Shish-Kebabs

Marinade:
1/5 bottle of red wine
1 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. rosemary
2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp. Tabasco® sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
3-4 bay leaves

Ostrich Meat: 6-8 lbs, inside leg and outside leg cuts, trimmed, cut into 1⁄2 inch about cubes.

Vegetables: Tomatoes, onions and green peppers, cut into 1⁄2 inch pieces

Place meat and marinade in a glass or ceramic container, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Skewer, alternating meat with tomato, green pepper and onion. Suspend skewers over shallow pan and baste with honey, allowing excess to run off. Cook over medium fire on a covered grill turning once. Total cooking time is about 10 minutes. Do not overcook.


Ostrich Boreks

8 oz. ostrich, ground or stew meat 1 pkg. chopped spinach, thawed
9 phyllo sheets (also known as filo)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg. Knorr Swiss Vegetable Soup Mix, dry
6 tbsp. butter, melted
Keep phyllo sheets covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying.

Preheat oven to 375. If using stew meat, place in food processor or blender and process for about 15 seconds. Add the cream cheese, drained spinach and soup mix. Process for another 15 seconds. Lay phyllo sheets on a flat surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Cut the sheets lengthwise into four strips (about 18″ X 3″). Place about a tablespoonful of the mixture one inch from the bottom edge of a strip. Take a bottom corner of the sheet and fold it over at mixture at a 45o angle from the other corner. Continue folding just as you would a flag to form a triangle that encloses the filling. Repeat for each strip. If desired, place a fresh sprig of dill, parsley, pimiento or olive slice under the last phyllo layer for a garnish. Place on a cookie sheet with the garnish on top. Brush the tops with butter and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a golden brown. Makes 36 pieces.


CAJUN JAMBALAYA

10 lb. ostrich meat (roast) “coarse cut”
12 lb. ostrich smoked sausage cut 1/4”
2 lb. andouille
10 lb. onions
5 bell peppers
2 heads cabbage
1 bunch celery
2/3 quart minced garlic
3 bunches shallots
1 bunch plain parsley
1 can diced Rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of mushroom sauce
6 oz. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
10 lb. Uncle Ben’s long grain rice
Olive oil, extra virgin Boil andouille in water for 20 min.; reserve broth.

Slice andouille 1/2” thick and quarter slices. Brown ostrich meat in a small amount of olive oil. Add chopped vegetables. Sauté until transparent. Add andouille and ostrich sausage, simmer 15 min. and add Worcestershire sauce and Creole seasoning. In large, black cast-iron kettle, add broth, water and canned goods to equal 2 gal. Bring to a boil, add parsley and rice, stir. Cook covered until liquid disappears, lower heat and cook, covered for 20 min. more. Uncover, stir and serve. Approx. 150 6-oz. servings.


OSTRICH WONTONS

1/4 lb. ground ostrich
1/4 c. green onions with tops, chopped
1 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger, grated or powdered
1/2 can water chestnuts, minced
1 tbs. cornstarch 1 pkg. wonton skins
Chinese mustard and sweet & sour sauce Oil for frying

Combine meat, chestnuts, onions, soy sauce, salt, cornstarch and ginger in bowl. Stir until well blended. Place a teaspoonful of the
mixture in the middle of a wonton skin. Fold one corner over the filling to the opposite corner. Turn up the tip opposite the long edge to make a fold. Moisten the top of one of the other triangle corners. Bring the two triangle tips together with the dry tip on top of the moistened tip. Press firmly together to seal. Deep fry over medium-high heat, a few at a time, for about two minutes.

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