We love pheasants. Silly, happy birds with gorgeous feathers and hang-over eyes. However, we like them best on our plate. All through the year, we seem to have a couple of brace lurking in our freezer, and they’re completely brilliant for those days you can’t think what to cook, but know you cannot face another mouthful of pasta.
Anyway, I just read about a recipe using chorizo and pheasant, from the very fabulous Mrs Smarty Breeks, and I thought I’d share my own. I’ve also realised that I’ve just missed Shot for The Pot week (http://www.gametoeat.co.uk/) , so this is my (late!) contribution.
This recipe for pheasant risotto was born out of desperation a few years ago – we had no other carbohydrate in the house apart from a packet of pudding rice.
Two pheasants (cock and hen, or three hens. Actually, probably doesn’t matter)
Liquid (see Method)
Arborio rice (1 ramekin per person. Two and a half ramekins for family of four with small children.)
x2 onions (finely chopped)
x2 garlic gloves (finely chopped)
something green, vegetable wise (I use spinach, French beans, peas if I’ve nothing else) (chopped in fork-size pieces)
Fresh thyme or rosemary, on stalks
Put two pheasants (cock and hen) upside down in a heavy casserole dish. Slosh in some liquid a third of way up birds. Liquid can be beer, cider, red or white wine…I’ve even used vermouth. Top up with tap water. In fact, I’ve done them in just water (with an onion) before, and still tasted good. Not worth using stock, incidentally, as you’ll be turning liquid into stock in a bit.
Right, Pot-roast an hour or so at 160 (done when legs move freely and no blood shows on a knife) , strip meat whilst still warm (absolute bugger to do when cold), and put all bones back into casserole with a quartered onion, couple of cloves and the woody stems of any herbs you might use later. Put it to boil.
Now make risotto. Soften onion in olive oil until translucent, add garlic. Give a stir, put in arborio rice, dry-fry for a few minutes, add couple of slugs of whatever booze you added to your cooking liquid. If you used water, well, add a shot of vermouth. Start adding boiling-away pheasant stock. Keep adding, stirring, adding stirring.
Right, when rice retains a slight bite, turn off heat and add some grated cheese. We like Parmesan, or Cheddar. Give it a stir, put the lid on. Tell everyone to get the table ready, dinner is five minutes away.
Now, heat a frying pan until scarily hot. Add a little olive oil. If a piece of pheasant dropped in sizzles, then put all of the pheasant meat in. Add generous amount of salt and thyme leaves and stir a little, letting it get a bit burnt and crispy.
When it’s all hot, check risotto. If looks a bit stodgy, put in a splash of hot water. Take risotto to table with pheasant crispy gorgeousness in separate bowl with the grater and more cheese. Let everyone dive in.
Serves 2 adults and 2 children for a main, or four adults for a lunch with a green salad.
Awesome gamey-goodness. Watch out for shot…