Friday, November 23, 2012

Pheasant was Pleasant!

In fact it was downright delicious! Here is my cooking report, as requested by Baydog!

I picked this recipe to use as a general guide, although I did mess around with it quite a bit.

I changed the brine quite a bit (skipped the juniper berries since I didn't happen to have any of those laying around, substituted dry sherry for one of the 4 cups of water, and then added in 3 cloves of garlic, part of a leftover onion that needed to get used up, some adobo seasoning, juice of half a lemon, some fresh ginger and a little worcestershire sauce).

Gave the veggies a little head start with some of the brine while I heated up the oven for the initial 15 minute blast, then poured out the liquid, put in the bird, and oh yes, in another departure from the recipe, bacon was involved.
Went for the temperatures as instructed - and the amazing thing was that at the end of an hour (when the bird is supposed to be done done done, cook no more), I gambled a bit with another 15 minutes with the lid (and bacon) off & at a slightly higher temperature to brown up the skin - the dutch oven doesn't brown that well & although it smelled great and probably would have been fine, it just looked pale when I took it out at the end of the hour. I was terribly worried that I was going to trade edibility for aesthetics, and I didn't go crazy on trying for full golden brown, but it looked much prettier after the extra 15 minutes - there it is, fresh from the oven -
The triple treatment of brine, bacon, and a cast-iron Dutch oven worked so well that even after cooking for the extra 15 minutes, it was still absolutely moist & delicious! And there was enough meat left on the carcass (and veggies on the plate) that I think I'll make a small pot of pheasant soup this weekend.

So it was a great experiment, and another nice thing about it was that it actually left the whole day free for me and TQ to take the dogs out to Floyd Bennett Field for an afternoon walk. Spending the day with him was a great bonus 'cause we weren't sure he wouldn't be working until very close to Thanksgiving day - having a meal that didn't require a whole lot of time let us use that day well! I made the brine and set the pheasant soaking after breakfast, and with sunset at 4:30, and a pheasant only taking an hour to cook, the timing just couldn't have been better. Good stuff!!!


Baydog said...

Nice job! Looks delicious.

Joe said...

Ditto the Dog.

O Docker said...

So how did it compare to Turkey?

I know it's un-American to say so, but for me, turkey is kind of meh. It just seems to take too much work to have it come out anything but dry and bland. I think turkey is basically dry and bland, and all the 'trimmings' we make at Thanksgiving are just to hide how dry and bland the bird is.

We don't need 'trimmings' with a nice piece of fish or a pizza.

Maybe turkeys tasted better when they weren't manufactured in turkey lots. Or maybe they're all made by Microsoft now?

bonnie said...

Oh, flavor to flavor? Pheasant wins hands (or wings) down. Lots more flavor than turkey, at least the white meat. Now I DO love the parts of the turkey that a good health-conscious diner is supposed to avoid - the dark meat and the crispy brown skin, mmmm, but I think I've only ever run into one or two Thanksgiving turkeys where I would eat the breast meat. And I think one of those was one of those deep fried turkeys (prepared by a friend who's a professional caterer and knew exactly how to do this without burning down the house, the garage, or requiring any unseemly intervention by EMT's).

Now I do suspect that if I got a turkey from my friend Steve "The Paddling Chef", it might be a different story - he works for D'Artagnan, no Windows birds there! He was actually the one who hooked me up with a pheasant when the folks at Dean and DeLuca didn't have one and couldn't even tell me how many I would need for dinner for 2.

I'm not a food snob or anything but poultry-wise, I really prefer the less factory-style birds. Don't like big blobby yellow chickens.

And this pheasant dinner was SO easy. Of course with it just being the 2 of us, and neither of us being really hung up on the full Thanksgiving spread, we just dispensed with all the fixin's. I did carrots, onions and tiny potatoes in the dutch oven with the bird. I nearly chucked the squash in there too but in the end I decided that it just wasn't Thanksgiving if you didn't dirty up at least 2 pots, so I sauteed it instead. Still, I cracked TQ up because at one point he got up to go get a beer and I asked him to bring me one because it I'd gotten so hot and thirsty slaving away over a hot stove all day...of course in reality at that moment the pheasant WAS roasting away in the Dutch oven, but I was comfortably curled up on the couch looking at Facebook and didn't have any particular plan on budging from there any time soon!

bonnie said...

"I'm not a food snob or anything but poultry-wise, I really prefer the less factory-style birds. Don't like big blobby yellow chickens."

Oops. That's a pretty food-snobbish statement, isn't it!

my2fish said...

that does look delicious! glad it was so easy to prepare, and that it turned out so well. sounds like a great day.