We have stopped eating out on special occasions. Instead, we buy out-of-our-usual ingredients and cook something different. For the Boy’s birthday, he and I went to a local game farm and bought two pheasants of about 2.75 lbs each.
I had some recipes for the birds in books, but I made a search and found some others (or variations) on The Field‘s website. This what I came up with in the end:
- In a large Le Creuset, some oil was heated and two chopped up rashers of bacon were slowly fried.
- After the bacon was removed, the birds were browned.
- Leaving the birds to one side, a coarsely chopped onion and some whole Cremini mushrooms (enough to create a bed for the pheasants to lie on) were fried.
- The bacon, four crushed juniper berries, goodly pinch of dried thyme, and a sprinkling of salt were strewn over the bed.
- A cup of red wine was poured over the bed and then chicken stock was added until there was half an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot.
- After a bay leaf was inserted into the cavities of the birds, they were lain upon the bed and salted and peppered; and the lid was placed on the pot.
- The Le Creuset was put into a 400 F oven and left there until the birds reached 170 F.
- The pheasants were removed and left under foil to rest.
- The onions and mushrooms were removed and a paste of butter and flour added to the liquid.
- Once the fats were absorbed and the sauce thickened, the onions and mushrooms were returned and warmed through.
- The birds were carved and served with brown rice, mashed yellow turnip and the onion and mushroom mix. The sauce was poured over the served plate as the eaters desired. Red current jelly was served as a condiment.
The boy was happy.
While the rest of the family were tidying up, I made stock out of the remains of the birds and the usual vegetables. The next day we had pheasant soup for lunch.