Wednesday 6 February 2013

Last Of The Season Pheasants - A Recipe

Three brace of pheasant were brought in for me today from last week. My friend who shot them hadn't got time to do anything to them and if he left them any longer he was worried they'd go off and be wasted.
Preparing birds in the dark
 I have to admit that I was a little lazy with preparing these birds, I was late back after doing a job on the way home from work (fitted a cat flap - exciting times!), so I just took the breast meat off these birds so I could chuck it all in the freezer quickly. Four breasts in each bag, three bags full makes enough meat for three meals.
Free meat in the freezer
I'm pretty sure I know what I'll do with some of it and that's to use my made up recipe of pheasant, chorizo and pearl barley.
I love to make this one on a Monday to cook on Tuesday and be ready for when we get home.
Pheasant - As much or as little as you've got
About 3-4 inches of a chorizo sausage chopped up,
200g of pearl barley,
One tin of tomatoes,
A large handful of dried tomatoes (supplied by Compost Woman - Thank you they are lovely),
An onion,
A load of mushrooms (cut up quite large),
Three bay leaves,
Salt and pepper,
A good slug of balsamic vinegar
Enough water to cover plus a bit as the pearl barley will soak it up (or stock is better, maybe even some red wine if you've got some open)
(you can also add carrots or other veg to this list depends on what veg you want to add in or you've got).
Really precise measurements I'm sure you'll agree!
All I do then is brown off the meat and the onions in some oil, then chuck everything in the slow cooker and leave to cook on low for about 8 hours.
The chorizo goes really well with the pheasant and because it's been slow cooked it's all really tender, the pearl barley almost makes this like a risotto - nice and warming on a winters night.
I think it's lovely to come home from a day outside in the cold to have tea ready and waiting to eat!
Anyone else got any good pheasant recipies?


  1. Ah I did wonder if this was the recipie you mentioned when we met :-)

    I love "handful" recipies like this :-)

    Glad to have added a bit to it - it sounds delish and I will try it when next I have some game to hand.

    Or, actually have some home killed chicken in the freezer so think that would probably be good as well :-)


    1. I think it would work well with any poultry. I just love tomato type stews! Thanks again!

  2. Nice to see a man taking charge in the kitchen! Nice to see a throw it all in recipe as well! All of my cooking, apart from baking cakes, is done like that, best way! Will have a go with pearl barley for a change though. I think we can get it here, and it will make a change from other dried pulses for stews.

    1. Not sure if I take charge! But we split the jobs fairly evenly in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking but our kitchen is just too small for it to be enjoyable!
      The pearl barley is a great alternative, we brought it for a recipy then didn't use the rest of the pack until I decided to try this. A nice change from potatoes, rice and pasta!

  3. Sounds wonderful. I will have to use chicken or duck though unless a pheasant wanders through the yard, which might happen. In thirty years in Canada I've never seen pheasant for sale or on a menu. I must go and ask my excellent butcher why this is.

    1. The only reason we have pheasants here is because evry year the shoots put hundreds down for the shooting season. Left to their own devices they're pretty useless as keeping alive!

  4. This is how I prepare Guinea Fowl so it will work well with pheasant. It works with chicken and duck too.

    Portion the birds and place in a glass bowl. Add a couple of bay leaves, roughly chopped onion, carrots, pepper corns, juniper berries, a few whole cloves and cover with red wine. Cover and leave overnight in a cool place (we have to stick it in the fridge in Angola).

    Next day, brown the portions of bird off on high heat in a bit of olive oil in a cast iron casserole. Add a couple of tablespoons of four to the sizzling birds, give it a good stir around and then add the strained liquid from the marinade. Best to do it gradually while stirring gently so that the wine combines with the four and juices.

    Strain a jar of pickled pearl onions and place them in another heavy based pan, add sugar, a heaped tablespoon, and caramelize. Don’t burn it, keep it all moving, and then add that to the birds.

    Add wild mushrooms, can be dry but the heavier the flavor the better (button mushrooms are a bit bland), and a chopped up big chunk of smoked bacon (not the water injected sliced stuff you get in vacuum sealed packets) and also a pinch of black pepper.

    Let this simmer gently for an hour or two. Check every now and then to see it isn’t burning on the bottom of the pan but be careful not to knock the flesh apart. Add chicken stock to prevent the sauce over thickening and burning and, towards the end, check seasoning. They like lots of salt here but you may get enough out of the bacon for your taste. If not, add a pinch or so to taste. Then take it off the heat and let it settle. Before serving, add cream to the sauce which by now should be thick as gravy.

    I have never used a ‘Crock Pot’ but I imagine such a device would be ideal once you have assembled all the ingredients into one pot. As I have already said, this works with chicken as well but you get the best flavor if you use the genuine free range ones that are tougher than the farmed varieties.

    This dish is best served with red cabbage (cooked German style), German Spaetzle (to soak up the sauce) and a cucumber dill cream side salad.

    1. I'd love to try Guinea Fowl so I might have to grow some at some point! I had to look up what a spaetzle is to be honest but it sounds like a great meal. Nice and rich (and cooking with pickled onions is something I've not thought of and sounds really good). And my bacon is nearly always bought dry cured! Thanks for the recipe I might have a go at this (whats red cabbage cooked german style?)

    2. Kev,

      I have just posted the recipe for the full meal over on Hippo on the Lawn. Sorry I was late but as you know I had some family business to attend to.

      Don't use the pickled onions I used to gorge off the pub bar. These are the pearl onions, white small and tender, that come in 200 gramme jars. The onions are about as big as the tip of your finger tip.

  5. Third paragraph, second sentence, 'Add a couple of tablespoons of four to the sizzling birds...'

    Delete 'Four', insert, 'Flour'.

  6. I remember my mum raising pheasants on our farm when I was a youngster, but I cant remember what they taste like though. Sounds like a nice recipe. That's what I like to hear, a man in the kitchen :)

  7. We've had pheasant this week too but it was one we were given and had just put in the freezer. We just put the whole thing in the slow cooker and took the meat off the bones and served it in a sauce made from the stock. The remains of the stock will go into the next soup. It was lovely. I wish we got given them more often!


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