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#1 omnivorette

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:40 AM

Well, I got a fresh pheasant at Quattro on Friday.

Roasted it, after much conversation with several people, much research.

Pancetta on the breast, blah blah blah. Did everything right.

It was tough, chewy...and not all that flavorful. I think this is a bird that calls for braising, not roasting.

Thoughts?
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#2 Adam

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 08:36 AM

By their nature there is a lot of variation from bird to bird, but even with braising they tend to be quite dry. Have cooked ~100 of the buggers in the last four years, think they are the weakest of the game birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#3 Melonious Thunk

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:02 PM

We roasted three of them Saturday night, from Quattro's as well. The white meat was tasty, but chewy. The dark meat required teeth line iron and was barely edible. the red cabbage and rice with it filled ot the plate. We assumed a braised specimen with loit's of liquid would work best. The 1999 Cornas (Verset) was the most delicious part of the meal.
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#4 Adam

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:10 PM

If the meat is chewy then it is more likely to be due to the way the birds were treated pre-cooking (hanging times, fresh or frozen etc, sinews left in the legs).

The meat doesn't seem to have much internal fat, although the birds will have large amounts of bright yellow surface fat at certain times of the year. Not sure why they are so intrinsically dry of flesh, partridges, quail and grouse are low in fat, but these have juice filled flesh when cooked.

The best use I have found for them is cooked in a terrine. I find that large amounts of pig fat sorts out the dryness issue.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#5 Melonious Thunk

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:11 PM

Found this tip from a game cooking guru:

Meet Chef John, the 'Game Gourmet'

Upland game bird cooking tips

"The No. 1 question I get from Boston to L.A. is how to fix pheasant," said Schumacher. "Pheasant poses problems because it is very fat free and therefore you can't cook it like chicken, which has fat."

Pheasant is best prepared in small pieces, sautéed and cooked on low temperatures for long periods.

Grilling game birds is almost impossible without adding moisture, such as bacon strips.

Game birds with dark breast meat, such as sharptail grouse, should be prepared similar to pheasant.

Waterfowl breast has more fat content than pheasant and, thus, can be cooked fast and short or long and slow.

Wild duck cooked whole in deep fat fryer will maintain moisture inside with crispness outside. Ideal oil temperature is about 350 degrees. If too hot, the bird will burn outside; if too cool, the oil will be absorbed.

Always check breasts to remove birdshot.


"Pippa, I'm going to tell you something and it's important. Sometimes you have to go to work."__Hannah Marie Konstadt, Two years, nine months.

'How high can you stoop?"__Oscar Levant.

#6 Adam

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:21 PM

Also were are these birds originally from? The pheasant season in the UK is 1st Sept to 31st Jan, so if these are Scottish birds for instance they will be pushing 10 months being frozen.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,
and sets a food discussion site?


#7 g.johnson

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:53 PM

I have a recipe somewhere that involves slowly stewing the legs in fat (goose or duck sounds like a good idea) and making rillettes out of them and separately searing/roasting the breast. Works pretty well.
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#8 Orik

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 01:59 PM

I must have written about this on eG a couple of years ago, but I found the quattro pheasant to be particularly bad (as is their duck) - I used it in the same ragu recipe as I did pheasant purchased from one of the no-longer-operational vendors in GCT and while the GCT bird was moist and very nicely gamey, the quattro one came out bland, tough and dry.
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#9 Wilfrid1

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 02:19 PM

Correct. I stopped buying birds from Quattro some time back, because this is the standard quality they offer. I may be wrong, but I have the impression that the birds are often frozen, which will make them even tougher. So, avoid Quattro. If you can't, then brine the bird in water with a two parts salt to one part brown sugar for twenty-four hours.

As for the pheasants, aren't they domestic, farmed pheasants?
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#10 omnivorette

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:25 PM

The pheasant I bought on Friday was fresh - killed several hours earlier. From upstate New York.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#11 Wilfrid1

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:31 PM

Sorry, I was thinking of their greenmarket outlet. So, the birds are tough at source?
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***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#12 omnivorette

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:35 PM

Yep. The ones Thunk is talking about, same thing - we both bought them from the farm upstate - very fresh.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#13 Adam Lawrence

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:41 PM

The pheasant I bought on Friday was fresh - killed several hours earlier.

Might not that be the source of the problem? Pheasant needs to hang for a while, I understand.
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#14 omnivorette

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:44 PM

Possibly. I have no idea. Except that the Quattro people said the opposite.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#15 g.johnson

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 04:01 PM

The pheasant I bought on Friday was fresh - killed several hours earlier.

Might not that be the source of the problem? Pheasant needs to hang for a while, I understand.

Quite. Hang them by the neck. When the body falls off they're ready.

At least that's what my college neighbor, Rodney Morgan-Giles, did whenever he'd bagged a brace. Did stink up the kitchen, though.
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