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Farm fresh ostrich anyone?

By Staff | Nov 7, 2014



ALDEN – If Helen Wall were to tell you her life story, it would sound like a lot of farm wives’ lives, except for one thing – the ostriches.

After she married farmer Art Wall, she taught home economics for two years until her husband told her he needed her help on the farm. Later she became a mother.

In the ’80s the Walls needed additional income, so she went back to substitute teaching.

Finding a job in her vocation of home economics was competitive, she said. She was encouraged to go into the area of special education and then got a job at Hubbard-Radcliffe schools where she taught for 18 years, retiring in 2006.

So far, this is a common story, but here’s where the ostriches come in.

The Walls were looking for increasing their income in 1994. They had fed cattle and hogs and decided that ostriches looked promising.

They started a breeding herd because that was where profits looked the greatest.

By 1997, Wall said they had seven birds ready, but with no market for them.

“So, we ate them,” she said.

The Walls incubated the eggs the birds laid and they continued raising ostriches.

Wall said she drove to Des Moines to find a buyer for her ostrich meat and found one at CosiCuchina Italian Grill.

“Bring us fresh ostrich meat,” they told her.

“I always knew he would buy my prime cuts,” she said.

The Walls have spent the last 10 to 15 years growing their ostrich business.

Wall has since been introducing people to ostrich meat as an alternative to traditional meats.

Their children and the friends they bring home have been the best promoters, Wall said.

Their ostriches are processed in Nevada – jerky, meat sticks, summer sausage and breakfast sausage.

Ostrich is a red meat with no marbled fat. It is fine-textured and rich in protein and iron.

It should not be cooked any more than medium for best taste.

Nothing goes to waste as the Walls sell eggs, leather, hides, and more from their herd of ostriches.

Garbanzo bean soup

1 pound sliced ham

1/2 pound bacon

2 cans garbanzo beans

6 potatoes cut into pieces

3 to 4 cups tomato juice

1 pepper diced

1 small onion diced

1 to 2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Brown the ham and bacon and add the other ingredients.

Simmer until the potatoes are done.

Add salt, or a pinch of sugar if desired to enhance the flavor.

This can be prepared in a slow cooker for 4 to 5 hours.

Classic stroganof with ostrich

6 ounces ostrich filet, 1/4-inch slices

2to 3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 to 3 sliced button mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 cup ostrich or beef broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup sour cream

parsley to garnish

Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. When it reaches a medium temperature quickly brown ostrich slices that have been dredged in flour and salt.

Add mushrooms, garlic, and onion to the skillet.

Remove the ostrich and mushrooms when nicely browned. Allow the onions and garlic to cook and flavor the sauce.

Add remaining butter and flour.

Stir in broth and tomato paste. Boil until sauce thickens.

At serving time add sour cream, ostrich and mushrooms to sauce until all is serving temperature.

Do not over cook the ostrich.

Arrange meat and pour sauce over a bed of noodles and garnish with parsley.

(Noodles cook for 20 minutes in boiling water or broth.)

Seared ostrich fillet with apricot tomato relish

Use ostrich fillet cut about 1/4-inch thick. Heat skillet to medium high, coat with olive oil.

Dip each fillet into orange juice and place in heated skillet. Sear one side and turn.

Season with grill mix and garlic salt.

For Best results remove fillet at medium rare stage, or to personal choice.

Serve immediately with apricot tomato relish.

Apricot tomato relish

1/3 cup diced apricots

1/3 cup chopped black olives

3/4 cup diced tomatoes

1/4 cup finely sliced green onions

2 tablespoons crumbled bacon

3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Minced chives to taste

Stir together and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.

Country quiche

Beat together 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon all purpose seasoning

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Layer in unbaked pie shell:

1/2 cup cottage cheese

3/4 cup cooked, crumbled ostrich sausage

About 10 asparagus spears

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pour egg mixture over ingredients in unbaked pie shell.

Bake in 400 degree pre-heated oven 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Pie crust for country quiche

1 cup flour

1/4 cup lard

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon minced chives

Blend with a pastry blender until crumbly.

Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of cool water and combine gently. Pull together with hands, form a ball and knead briefly.

Roll out and line an 8-inch pie shell. Pie crust can be prepared in advance.

Layers of cheeses, asparagus, and sausage, may be assembled in the evening to facilitate morning preparation. (Cover and refrigerate.)

Egg mixture could also be mixed and refrigerated in advance.

Caramel apple cake

Mix together

1 cup margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs


3 cups flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt


2 teaspoon soda dissolved in 1 cup cold water

Lastly add

2 cups chopped, unpeeled apples

3/4 cup chopped nuts

Spread batter in 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Serve with caramel sauce topping

Caramel sauce

Note: Make the sauce ahead of time so it will be thicker when serving. Heat it to just warm before serving.

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup whipping cream

Microwave for 3 minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and microwave for 1 more minute.

Reheat to serve.

Cranberry orange

gelatin dessert

For the relish

1 12-ounce bag cranberries (3 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen

1 small navel orange cut into chunks unpeeled

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries, and orange until the fruit is finely chopped.

Stir in the sugar and serve cold.

To create a gelatin salad suitable for a church dinner in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

3 3-ounce packages cherry gelatin

3 1/2 cups boiling water

1.5 cups of the cranberry orange relish

1 tall can of drained mandarin oranges

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

Optional: Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and stir so it is mixed.

Then add rest of ingredients; mix well; put in 9-by-13-inch pan and chill for at least six hours.

Fancy garnish

Mix equal parts of mayonnaise and cream cheese.

Example: 1/4 cup each with a dash of sugar

Force this through a cake decorator tip for each serving.

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