Mock Ptarmigan with Cranberry Salsa and Stir-Fried Barley

Mock Ptarmigan with Cranberry Salsa and Stir-Fried Barley

I had never heard of ptarmigan before researching Alaskan foods. This bird is a food source up north, but given the geographic limitations of my kitchen project, and the endorsement of the author of the recipe for ptarmigan that chicken drumsticks taste quite similar, I decided to make chicken drummies in lieu of the slightly dove-looking bird.

For this meal, I combined three recipes from the cookbook I purchased for mostly pre-pipeline (but some more adventurous, post-pipeline) Alaskan dishes, What Real Alaskans Eat: Not Your Ordinary Cookbook (aff): ptarmigan, cranberry salsa, and stir-fried barley.

This is what ptarmigan look like:

These dishes, particularly the drumsticks paired with the cranberry salsa, were among the most effortless recipes  I’ve cooked and mouthwateringly amazing—juicy, flavorful, fruity, and despite all this, still healthy. The barley flavor was somewhat dry and bland in comparison, but that worked somewhat well to balance the juicy, sweet and tart taste of the cranberry salsa (which, just like the Alaskan rendition of chili, is also tomato-less). Very interesting, unique twist on salsa I otherwise may have never even thought to try.

Written by A. Alexander


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