Muttonbird (Titi) with Watercress and Kumara
- 2 Titi/Muttonbirds
- 2 bay leaves
- Large potful watercress/puha
- 6 baby kumara, unpeeled
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to the boil containing titi and bay leaves, then simmer for 2 hours on a gentle blip blip simmer. Leave the windows open when cooking as there is quite a strong smell.
Turn off the heat, take out titi and discard most of liquid to get rid of the fatty oil and add water to make a weaker stock and to cover the vegetables, or you can cook titi the day before and skim the oil more easily off the top.
Boil and bring liquid back to a blip blip simmer, throw in watercress and kumara and cook unt il kumara is soft, about 15 minutes.
The birds can be roasted under a pre-heated hot salamander/grill for 10-15 minutes or longer at 220C.
This not only crisps up the skin but gets rid of more oil.
Arrange a bed of cooked watercress on each plate and place some kumara on the side.
Break titi up into segments removing any fatty deposits and skin. Māori love the skin and cooked this way it's lovely and crisp. Place on watercress, season if necessary.
Some Maori eat everything except the bones and these too are sucked dry.