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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.  

I have wanted to buy a duck press for a while. I learned from Lucas Carton that they sold the duck press they used to have in their dining room to another customer, and I was too late. This one look

deco - http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13076679/   la chasse - http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A130701/13025071/   takajo kotobuki - legendary but very hard to book - http://tabelog.com/toky

Hard to say. So many of their other things are excellent. The chickens, the meats (lamb, beef, goat, etc.), the offal, the sausages, the eggs, the salumi...

 

And this is my first pheasant...I don't know if an aged pheasant would turn out differently, I've never tried to do one.

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Game birds do tenderise through hanging. They also develop a stronger "gamey" flavor. You need to balance your preferences. But of course, these aren't really game birds. Unless Quattro are sending people out to shoot them. I don't know what method of slaughtering they use, and whether it would be appropriate to hang the bird if it has been strangled or decapitated - maybe it doesn't matter.

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Game birds do tenderise through hanging. They also develop a stronger "gamey" flavor. You need to balance your preferences. But of course, these aren't really game birds. Unless Quattro are sending people out to shoot them. I don't know what method of slaughtering they use, and whether it would be appropriate to hang the bird if it has been strangled or decapitated - maybe it doesn't matter.

I don't think that pheasant ever really develops a strong gamey flavour, even after hanging. In my experience they are pretty low in flavour if they are freshly killed and cooked. If I were to look for something of this size with a different flavour profile to chicken and were concerned about gamey flavour, then I would buy a guinea fowl. These can be delicious and much less likely to be tough then pheasant.

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I think pheasants can be pretty good, as long as you have the right expectations.

 

As Adam says, they're never really very gamy. But you can see them as an alternative to chicken, with a stronger, gamier flavour. Although I've had a limited experience of guinea fowl, I'd say that the pheasants I've eaten have had a stronger flavour.

 

However, all those pheasants have been allowed to live in the wild for at least a few months and have been hung, not necessarily for more than a few days. I can't imagine there's much point in eating them otherwise.

 

These conditions met, the younger ones do make good roasts, provided they're not overcooked, and the older ones are fab in that Norman recipe for pheasants in cream and Calvados. :wub:

 

clb

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Another way to treat a pheasant kindly, if you're concerned about toughness, is to pot roast it. Simply, I would place the bird on top of some roughly cut onions, carrots and other aromatic vegetables, fill the pot with wine up to the bottom of the bird, and set it to cook on a very low heat. Well, I don't know if everyone would call it a pot roast, but you are essentially steaming the bird quite gently. It doesn't hurt if you want to brown the bird in some oil beforehand. I have used this cooking technique for the whole range of game birds, from pheasants to wild ducks; it was originally necessitated by not having an oven. I find it works pretty well. Traditional fast-roasting can promote toughness.

 

Obviously, beyond the technique I just described, you can braise the damn thing. That's accepted practice for older partridges. My suggestion is a sort of compromise.

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Actually they are pretty good in PIE. Or even better PUDDING.

 

Line pudding basin with suet crust. Layer in birds, shallots, mushrooms and lardons. Put on suet lid wrap and steam etc for ~2 hours. Pour is a little red wine gravy into a small hole in the top, turn our and eat. Gary Rhodes eat your heart out. If you are feeling extra creative you can make some force meat balls from the livers and some pork etc. to add as well.

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  • 1 year later...

thanks, lots of good ideas here. santa brought me 5 wild pheasants (from ND). they are cryovaced and frozen, with the feathers still on the tail and tips of the wings.

 

santa also brought 15 pounds of white tailed deer venison in various cuts.:rolleyes:

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this is my tried and true recipe, I've been doing a holiday dinner for years..it brings out the flavor by roasting, but by adding the raisins and wine mid point, it keeps it moist. Also, the title of this recipe really describes the dish..it presents beautifully: Golden roast Pheasant: http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/me...00/rec0013.html

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I've been cooking game birds quite a lot this season - having access to them being back in Britiain has made me very happy indeed. The most trouble free have been partridge, which really are so lovely just larded and roast. I haven't quite got the hang of wild duck yet, slow cooking the legs is great, but the breasts are seem chewy even in a quick roast. I've always tending to casserole phesant, although I've been prefering smaller birds this year. My brother had some recently shot given to him last week, he seared then braised the breasts in cider - Normandy-ish - and casseroled the rest, said it was great and the different cooking methods were a good approach to the different parts... First go at roast grouse last weekend, which was very succesful for one bird, somewhat less so for the other. One perfectly pink and succulent, the other, which was the same size, a little over, although very very bloody!! Not that I mind some blood on my plate.... Which leads me to my question - there seems to be a fairly substantial variation in how seemingly identical birds come out when cooked exactly the same. Are there ways to minimize this, either in cooking method or in selecting the birds??

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... First go at roast grouse last weekend, which was very succesful for one bird, somewhat less so for the other. One perfectly pink and succulent, the other, which was the same size, a little over, although very very bloody!! Not that I mind some blood on my plate.... Which leads me to my question - there seems to be a fairly substantial variation in how seemingly identical birds come out when cooked exactly the same. Are there ways to minimize this, either in cooking method or in selecting the birds??

 

 

It's possible that your oven has some hot spots, or that the arrangement of cooking vessels directed the heat toward one bird, and away from the others.

 

You might want to experiment with two chickens or two pieces of pork and see if you get the same result as you did with the fowl.

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Wild duck breasts do tend to be chewy. You might try a method I developed when I didn't have access to an oven. In a stove-top casserole, brown the birds in oil or butter. Then add chunks of carrot, onion, herbs, etc, and cooking liquid - wine or stock - just enough to lap the bird and not dry out, but not enough to cover it. Cover and cook gently, turning bird occasionally. This is somewhere between pot roasting and steaming, and it aids moistness and tenderness.

 

Also, teal are the tenderest of the wild duck if you can get them.

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I've noticed uneveness in cooking when i've been cooking with other people's much better ovens than the dodgy thing I have, so I reckon in may be in the nature of the beast, as it were. I suspect the state of the bird during hanging - how much blood under the skin for instance, may make a big difference.

 

The slightly more liquid approach to duck breasts sounds good. I think my mistake was treating them too much like farmed meat and cooking them off the bone. I've seen teal a couple of times at Borough recently, I'll try it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a teal for dinner last night - my first. Very good, simply roasted. A little more fragrant and definitely much more tender than the wild mallards I've tried. Such a tiny tiny bird, not really what one thinks of as a duck. Woodcock soon, if I can get hold of them - not regularly found at Borough, although do game dealers there claim to get them in often enough, not when I've been there. grrrr...

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