Puffin in milk sauce - Mjólkursoðinn lundi

I don't care much for puffin and other sea-birds as food, but many people love them and eat them whenever they can. This recipe resembles the recipe for rock ptarmigan, in that the birds are cooked in milk.

4 puffins
50 g smoked bacon
50 g butter
300 ml milk
300 ml water to taste salt

Puffins should be skinned or carefully plucked and singed. Remove the innards and discard. You can use the breasts alone, or cook the whole birds. Wash well in cold water and rub with salt, inside and out. If you are using whole birds, truss them. Lard the breasts with bacon fat. Brown the birds on all sides, and stuff them tightly into a cooking pot. Heat the milk and water and pour over the puffins. Bring to the boil and cook on low for 1-2 hours (test the birds for softness). Turn the birds occasionally. Remove from the cooking liquid and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

The sauce:
30 g butter
4 tblsp flour
400-500 ml cooking liquid
to taste salt and pepper
as needed caramel/sauce colouring
to taste redcurrant jelly (optional)
to taste whipped cream

Melt the butter and stir the flour into it like you were making white sauce. Strain the cooking liquid and gradually add to the butter/flour mixture. Add colouring and spices to taste, and redcurrant jelly/cream, if using.
Serve with boiled and/or caramelized potatoes and lightly boiled vegetables, like carrots, peas and brussels sprouts.

Recipe taken from Helga Sigurðardóttir's "Matur & Drykkur", Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).


Anonymous said…
Hi, I like your blog - interesting recipes. Do you have any recipes for cooking whale?
Bibliophile said…
Whale? Sure - I'll post some soon.
Wow, I did not know people ate puffins. Interesting recipe. Do you think it would work if you substituted guinea hens for the puffins? Also, do you know if you can legally own a puffin, as you know, a pet? I wouldn't eat them. They are very cute to me.
Bibliophile said…
Sankari, the recipe works best with sea birds like puffin and guillemot. It is designed to counteract the strong fishy flavour of the sea bird's flesh.

I don't think you are allowed to legally keep puffins as pets (or any wild animals for that matter).
Unknown said…
You are not keeping puffins as pets.In Iceland puffin is a delicacy ,they have to lean over cliffs with a twenty or thirty foot net to catch then.It kind of tastes like duck with a fishy taste.It is dark meat ,red in color.
Matthew said…
Interesting - usually, unusual things taste like chicken. I've never had a duck that tastes of fish before - must try it some time. Where can you buy puffin in the UK? Daventry perhaps? ;-)
Unknown said…
My husband and I had roasted puffin in Iceland. I remember the flavor more as swordfish, and very dark red. We did enjoy it very much. Not oily as duck.

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