Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mantastic Pheasant

Below is a recipe I promised ages ago. Camille and her paramour Taylor had me over for dinner recently and it was so good that I have asked them to give me a break and "Guest Edit" at TKTC. Something they took seriously and I have to say, outshined me. I could be a vegetarian most days. I like meat, chicken and seafood especially but only at a certain point. Taylor plucked this from the wild and brought it to me on an elegant plate. Can't get more organic than that- how French:)

The naturalist Rachel Carson once said, "Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." Indeed, there seems to be no better way to eschew one's weariness of an impending winter than to hunt animals and then eat them.
That said, great things happen when the interests of a hunter and an amateur chef collide: when Taylor moved to Chicago a few weeks ago, he brought with him two pheasants he had shot and cleaned himself, and together we collaborated on a suitable recipe for our friends in town.
Taylor and Camille's Mantastic Pheasant
* Pheasants (cleaned, rinsed, etc.) Take the skin and feathers off, silly!!
* Half of a large white onion, diced (you could also use shallots)
* Butter and olive oil for the pan (we used a dutch oven) Olive oil raises the temp. of butter so that it does not burn (that would not be tasty)
* Red and green bell peppers, chopped or diced
* Smoked beef sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces(TKTC says smoked turkey sausage is a meager but healthie alternative)
* Small red-skin or "new" potatoes, quartered
* Chicken broth and maybe some white wine as well (we didn't try this but perhaps a small amount would be tasty)
* Salt and pepper, cajun seasoning too if you like
* Several bottles of wine, so that your friends won't be squeamish about eating recently-deceased game (TKTC says- DELICIOUS!!!)

1.) Heat up a deep pan or dutch oven slowly over medium to low heat. Brown smoked sausage slices on both sides, and then remove them onto a plate.

2.) Add a small amount of butter and olive oil (note: SMALL amount) into the pan, and saute onion and bell pepper until they become soft.

3.) Now is the time for the pheasants! Put your rinsed, patted-dry, and seasoned (salt, pepper, whatever you like) pheasants into the pan, lightly searing them on both sides (we took the skin off, so needed the oil/butter in the pan).

4.) Add the potato quarters (make these rather small so they will cook quickly) to the pot, and add enough chicken broth so they are covered.

5.) Add the browned sausage slices.

6.) Cover the pan tightly, and keep it over low to medium heat. You do not want to overcook the pheasant by boiling it until it becomes tough!

7.) Have a glass of wine, and make your favorite hunter tell the story of how he shot your dinner.

8.) Refill your roommate's glass when she starts to realize that her next meal was recently captured. (Repeat as necessary).

9.) When the pheasant is just cooked through, remove them to a cutting board to sit for 10 minutes to rest and to seal in its juices.

10.) Have the hunter carve them as one would a turkey or chicken. Put the pheasant back into what has by now become a stew.

11.) Ladle it into bowls or plate and enjoy!

Other variations: we held a cooking contest several months ago (appropriately named "Pheasant Cookoff 2007" or "PC Y2K+7") in which we both grilled BBQ pheasant wrapped in bacon (Taylor) and baked pheasant stuffed with apples wrapped in bacon (me), and both were tasty. This seems to be a bird that can withstand a variety of ingredients/flavors and extreme creativity, so please go pheasant hunting and toast the season!

(Pictures: Taylor looking handsome and with a pheasant that he skillfully shot, and then me, shooting left-handed and with poor form and timing, and also shooting no pheasants because I forgot to turn the safety off).
For the record, these two are great. And speaking of adventures- Tay is in South Africa at the moment so hold him to high expectation on his return. We want details Mr. Guest Edit.


Christy Lou Who said...

Ah! We should totally chat! We have a definite thing on Saturday afternoon, but everything else is kind of still in the making. Do you want to maybe email me so I have you email address and I can email you back to let you know when we get there and get situated and figure out our game plan (and how many layers I need to go outside)? Here's my email addy if you go that route:
and I would love if you passed on any must-sees in your city! :)

Molly McG said...

I'm thinking the Bourgogne countryside may be my best bet, but I'm not sure. Can you check with Taylor to see if he has any French hunting buddies who could point me in the right direction??

LUV the guest post ... I'm going straight to my dictionary to look up peasant in French ...

Bisous bisous