Game Recipe #1: Pheasant pie with port and freshly foraged mushrooms.

This lucky man got to go shooting on Saturday.  Sounds like he had a great time and he came home having bagged himself a nice couple of brace of pheasant and some duck for the table.  He said: “I tried to feel for the birds with the biggest breast to take home.”  Hmmmmm….

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Anyway, I tried plucking them, but that didn’t last long.  There was something particularly squeamish about pulling bloody feathers.  Jon kindly took over and I was handed the carving knife for de-breasting.  I believe that is a technical term.  It is now anyway.  I have no idea why I’m pulling such a psychotic face below.

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I felt quite excited about cooking pheasant for the first time.  I haven’t eaten pheasant for years, not since I was a child.  I had some ready-made puff pastry in the fridge so a pie it was to be.  I also had some mushrooms I had picked during the morning dog-walk, so they went into the pie too.

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The presentation is what I’m going to call rustic, but it tasted amazing.  The combination of all the flavours, game, salty bacon, sweet port and tangy garlic was brilliant.  Definitely wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve this up when people come over and happily there is more phessie in the freezer.

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Keeping it company in the freezer is the duck breast (not to mention hare and rabbit).  I’m thinking something Chinesey perhaps?  We’ll have to wait and see.

 Recipe:

Serves 4

  • 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon.
  • About 6 big mushrooms.
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated.
  • 1 red onion, chopped.
  • 4-5 pheasant breasts, cut into large chunks.
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped finely.
  • Port.
  • 3 tablespoons of plain flour.
  • 3/4 pint of hot chicken stock.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 1 packet of puff pastry, or if you have nothing better to do, a batch of your own homemade.
  • Milk or egg for wash.

Cut the bacon into scallions and fry.  Once it begins to cook, add the chopped mushrooms.  Once cooked until bacon is crisp and mushrooms are brown, remove from pan and set aside.

Add a little oil or low fat alternative to the pan.  Fry the onion until browned and add the garlic. Then add the pheasant, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning all the time until just browned.  The pheasant will go tough if cooked to long.  Pour in a good slosh of port (about 2/3 cup) and return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan.  Stir to cover in port.  Now take off the heat and add the flour, stirring so that it coats everything.  Return pan to a low heat and slowly add your stock to the pan a little at a time, stirring continuously until it creates a thick sauce.  Add the parsley.

Transfer to your pie dish and leave to cool.  Get your pastry out of the fridge.  Have a cup of tea, wash a few things (my mum always taught me to clear up as you go along).  Once pastry is room temperature and mixture is cool, roll out your pastry on a floured surface and then place on top of your pie dish.  Trim the edges and seal (you should really let the pastry rest after rolling to avoid the mid cooking shrinkage that can be observed in my Blue Peter offering).  Brush with a milk or beaten egg wash.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes at 200 celsius or until top is golden brown.

Then… Eat!

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