Happy Saturday – it is Saturday down here in NZ and Australia! For those of you for who it is still Friday – remember it’s not long until it will be Saturday – and think of us when you are still enjoying Sunday, because it will be Monday here!
No matter which day it is, no doubt many of you, like me, will be heading out this weekend to your local food market to pick up your supplies for the week.
Last week at the Napier Urban Food Market, Manurau Game Birds had frozen pheasants on special and from what Rodney was telling me I think they will have them again today. I picked one up last week and it was so good I am planning to get another today
Game birds can be a little tricky to cook, but the way I have cooked this pheasant will ensure a perfect result every time – breaking the bird down and roasting the legs for longer then breast gives tender legs and moist delicious breast meat. I found this method on the BBC website.
Generally pheasants are not very large birds – the ones I am getting are 800g to 1kg – and one bird generously feeds two people with each person getting a leg and a breast.
Roast Pheasant with Mushroom & Mustard Sauce
This recipe can easily to be adapted for however many you are feeding.
1 (about 1kg) pheasant
2 tbsp flour seasoned with a good grind of sea salt
pheasant carcass and wings, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 cup white wine
MUSHROOM & MUSTARD SAUCE
1 shallot, finely chopped
100g button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup white wine
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup pheasant stock
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup cream
1 Prepare the pheasant – see note below. Do not discard the carcass and wings. Set prepared pheasant aside.
2 For the stock, heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add a little oil and swirl to coat base of pan. Add pheasant carcass and wings and cook, turning frequently, for 5 minutes or until well browned. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring
occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in wine and ½ cup water, bring to simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until liquid reduces and is releasing a good aroma.
3 Strain stock and discard pheasant carcass and vegetables. Set liquid aside – you should have about 1 cup. Skin the fat from the top of the stock before using, to get the fat to set quickly place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
4 Preheat oven to 200°C. Place flour in a plastic bag, add pheasant and toss to coat lightly. Shake off excess.
5 Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat, add little oil and a knob of butter and swirl to coat base of pan. Add pheasant legs and breast, skin side down and brown on all sides.
Remove breasts and set aside.
6 Transfer frying pan to oven and cook pheasant legs for 12 minutes, add breasts and cook for 8 minutes longer. Remove
pheasant from pan, place on a plate, cover and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, then keep warm while making sauce.
7 For the sauce, place shallot and mushrooms in the pan in which the pheasant was cooked, place over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add wine and bring to the boil, then stir in vinegar and
continue to cook until liquid has almost evaporated and is syrup. Stir in stock and bring back to the boil, simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until reduced to about one-third. Stir in cream and mustard and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes longer or until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt.
8 To serve, carve breast from the bone to give two pieces. Cut each breast into thick slices. For each serving, place a leg and a sliced breast on each plate and top with sauce.
To prepare the pheasant: Cut the legs and thighs away from bird, but leave the breast meat attached to the ribcage. Cut away the back and cut off the wings using strong kitchen scissors.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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