This was for Thanksgiving (24th November 2011) with my lovely American friend Ms. D. This fed five people, though ideally (and if there’s less on the plate than for a Thanksgiving meal it’s good to have one bird/two people). I ordered the pheasants from Steve Hatt on the Essex Road and they were £4.95/bird. In Suffolk my mum can get them for £3.50 but Mr. Hatt’s price was better than the £7 I was quoted elsewhere in London(!)
I made an impromptu stuffing by mixing sauteed liver/brandy/shallot/bacon with the (delicious) veggie herby cornbread stuffing that was for the vegetarians present. I forgot that there would be liver and heart inside the birds and didn’t want to waste them. The idea of mixing them together is credited to a visiting American, Mr T – and it worked well. It is optional however and as I didn’t make the veggie mix am not giving it here.
This is a vaguely remembered way of making it from when my mum cooked pheasant at home a while ago, although I think she doesn’t add mushrooms.
This fed five people
a few shallots, halved and sliced
2 whole garlic cloves
¼ pack of unsalted butter
4 rashers of smoked, dry cure streaky bacon (2 chopped, 2 whole)
large handful of brown mushrooms roughly chopped
good slug of cooking brandy
cup of white wine
How I made it:
Season the birds with salt and pepper. In a heavy bottomed, lidded casserole pot (ideally a cast iron french-style one) melt the butter, and when it’s bubbling (but not brown) add the pheasants and brown all over. Remove from the pot
Add the onions, garlic and chopped rashers, cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms stir, replace the lid and cook for a few minutes until they’ve reduced a bit. Add the brandy, replace the pheasants into the pot and lay the bacon rashers on top of the breast, one on each.
Put in the oven at 180 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, basting after 15. Check if it’s cooked by cutting in at the leg and seeing if the juices run clear.
When cooked, remove the birds to a carving board. Add the cup of wine to the pot and cook off the alcohol on the hob on a low heat for a few minutes. Check for seasoning.
Carve and serve with the mushroom gravy over the meat.
A mad amount of other lovely dishes made by my friends: Ms. A’s fantastic (not too sweet, not too salty cornbread), Mr. R’s superb wine from Notes (http://notescoventgdn.blogspot.com/) , Mr. T’s mum’s lethally creamy potato/squash mix, Ms. D’s fabulous and rich veggie gravy and cornbread stuffing, and a buttery-sweet pecan apple crumble from Ms. K!