We are a frugal enough lot. We have always tried to be practical but not at the expense of acceptable comfort. For example, we don’t buy the luxury quilted, balsam infused toilet tissues. Nor do we go with squares of old newspaper hanging from a string. We try to maintain a balance between raw practicality and the better things in life. If one overindulges in such luxuries as quilted toilet tissue, they become the norm and any change in financial circumstances can come as an uncomfortable shock to the system. Having said that, in recent times, we do find ourselves having more meals for two as family spread their wings and abandon us on weekends. The thought of cooking pheasant for six or eight brings a lump to my throat. But, when it’s just the Wife and I dining, it’s game on (pun intended).
Pheasant can be very dry and uninspiring. I thought of a way to keep it moist, flavoursome and convenient to cook. I will share my Pheasant with Leek and Potato with all you empty nesters out there. Ironic, given that the poor pheasant will never see the nest again. I posted a roast pheasant previously. The link is here, if you’re interested.
Ingredients for two people
- 1 pheasant
- 4 leeks
- 100 grammes or so of bacon lardons
- 5 or six strips of good quality streaky bacon
- 2 glasses of dry white wine
- 8 to 10 juniper berries
- Salt and pepper to season
- 20 or so mixed peppercorns
- 1 clove of garlic
- 8 to 10 small, waxy, potatoes
First, fry the bacon lardons in a little oil until browned.
Chop the leeks. They will break down in the cooking so they don’t need to be too fine.
Thinly slice the garlic. Grind the peppercorns and the juniper berries together.
Add the leeks to the bacon. sweat them down over a low to medium heat. When they get soft, add the juniper berries and peppercorns. Stir them in then add the wine.
Cook this for a few minutes to allow the alcohol evaporate. Slice however many of the potatoes so they are all roughly the same size. Add these to the pot.
Wrap the pheasant in the bacon and sit it on top of the potatoes.
Place the lid on the casserole dish and pop it into a 200ºC oven for an hour. Remove the pheasant and put the bacon back in the oven to crisp it up while the pheasant rests for a few minutes.
Carve the pheasant down either side of the backbone and then separate the breast from the leg. Serve with the leeks, potatoes, some bacon and some of the lovely wine sauce that will have prepared itself in the casserole.
While I love my family, having fewer people around the dining table certainly has its compensations. We get to try the more exotic without breaking the bank. Perhaps we could go for four layer quilted?