Friday, November 19, 2010

Roasted pheasants

My friend K. doesn't just flood me with apples from his garden. He is also a hunter (about once a year), and in fall he sometimes supplies game for our dinner parties.
 Last year we had to figure out what to do with three wild geese. They ended up as a flavorful braise, made with prunes, wild mushrooms, and sherry.
 This time K. and his wire hound Martin got us three pheasants.

 Well, this one was easy: pheasants are very similar to chickens, these even had a little fat in them.

We rubbed them with salt and pepper, stuffed minced garlic, rosemary and thyme under the skins, put large slices of onions and garlic and a few juniper berries inside the birds, trussed them, and placed them in a roasting pan, surrounded by mixed cut vegetables (bell peppers, onions, garlic cloves, potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes) - just like chickens. Since pheasant meat tends to be dry, we covered the breasts and legs with slices of apple wood bacon.

Roasted at 450 degrees about 20 minutes, then removed the bacon, took out those vegetables that were done, turned the birds over and roasted another 15 minutes. Then we decreased the temperature to 375, turned the birds breast side up again, and let them roast to internal temperature of 160 degrees. The potatoes and carrots had to stay in the oven for another 10 minutes to finish cooking.

I made a sauce with mushrooms, Marsala wine, shallots and cream to go with the birds.

One bird serves two.

The birds came out very tasty, and the breasts were juicy and tender, except a few pieces of lead that we missed while cleaning them; but the legs, although full of flavor, were tough. Next time, if we get pheasants again, the breasts will go on the grill, and the legs into a stew.

However, I am afraid that it may be a wild boar next time.

This is what I did with the leftovers.

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