Saturday, February 03, 2007

Roast Pheasant

I plucked, gutted and roast the two pheasants I bought the other day. Dad and I enjoyed them, but to be honest they were pretty tough and not all that much tastier than a really good corn-fed organic chicken. The flavour was different from chicken, but not as different as I was expecting. Maybe I overcooked them, or maybe that's just what pheasant is like.

The gravy was fabulous though (made from the thickened meat juices with a slosh of Weston's organic cider), and the vegetables we roasted along with the birds were delicious. I had a lot of fun preparing the birds, and seeing them turn from feathery creatures with heads and wings, into roast meat on a plate entirely through my own doing. I've never done that before and it was very interesting.

And now for something completely different: I've been asked by Friends of the Earth to include the following announcement, and I'm happy to do so.
Friends of the Earth would like to hear from you. They've recently launched a new online bookshop and would like feedback from the green community. All you need to do is answer 10 short questions for your chance to win over £150 worth of environmental books. Click here http://www.foe.co.uk/shop
I wasn't offered any inducement to include that (more's the pity). You need to browse the bookshop before you answer the questions, which are about how easy the site is to use and things like that. Good luck, and if you win the £150 of books, please send me one.

11 comments:

Al said...

Ahh! Weston's Organic Cider, from my fair homeland of Herefordshire! Lovely stuff

Sal said...

Your dinner sounds lovely, the gravy bit made my mouth water!

Stonehead said...

How did you roast them and for how long?

Pheasant should be roasted breast down for all but the last 10 minutes or so as this keeps the juices in the breast and stops it drying out. A good splash or two of white wine in the roasting tray also helps.

A pheasant is cooked when the meat still has a slightly pink tinge and you should get a very small amount of pink in the juices when you stick a knife or skewer in to check if it's done. Don't allow it to roast until it's white or it gets dry and tough.

Other tricks - a small peeled onion stuffed up its bum helps the flavour; while barding it with bacon helps retain moisture. You could cover it with foil for the first 20 minutes or so, then remove the foil to brown it but I prefer barding as you're not wasting aluminium.

Pheasant also makes a very nice curry.

Melanie Rimmer said...

Thanks, Stonehead. I'll try some or all of those suggestions if I ever do them again. Ours were roasted in a hot oven for about 35 minutes, breast up, uncovered but basted with olive oil. We did the hen and the cock together which was probably silly as there was a significant size difference. We're going to subject the leftovers to long slow cooking and have pheasant casserole for dinner tonight, with colcannon.

Rob said...

For some reason, I thought you were vegetarian. We haven't seen any pheasant in the city - we'll make a point of cooking with it when we're out of London.

Is there anything you can do to recycle the feathers after? Can you compost them or something?

Stonehead said...

Thirty-five minutes is about right for a cock, the hen should have gone in the oven a bit after the cock (time depending on size difference).

You should definitely roast breast down - it will make a difference.

Your leftovers sound good. We had leftover vegetable brose with the remains of a roast pork belly diced in it. Very delicious, served with a couple of teaspoons of prepared horseradish.

Lesley said...

Re: the books.
Funnily enough last week I had taken out 'Not on the Label' from the public library. It made my flesh creep!

The description of where chicken nuggets come from reminded me of last summer when, in the school holidays, I taught my three six year old grandchildren how to make chicken goujons (posh chicken nuggets) with all that lovely messy flouring, egging and breadcrumbing .... they said after eating them that they were 'tons better than Macdonalds'. Praise indeed?

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