Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas Eve Surprises

Since it's January 3rd, I figure I should get around to discussing December 24th. Finally.

So here's what happened: A family friend of my in-laws stopped by and dropped off something.

Mysterious Bag

It's what he'd shot that morning: two pheasants.

Matt, obviously, insisted that I cook them that night, instead of my mother-in-law throwing them in the freezer for forever, so that she'd never have to deal with them. Which is basically the sensible thing to do.

So, I washed them off, cleaned them out (Thankfully they'd already been plucked, gutted, and had their heads removed. I would have refused to do that.). Then I put them in a pretty container (To combat the general icky-ness of the situation.).

Pretty Dish, Ugly Pheasants

Next came stuffing them with onions, trussing their legs, and covering them with bacon. Because everything is better with a little bacon grease on it. And because pheasants are very lean birds, and you can't roast them as long as they need to be roasted without adding some fat.

Bacon, Trusses, Onions Inside

The pheasants were roasted for 40 minutes in a very hot oven (400 or so), and came out looking mostly awesome.

Roasted, Naked Birds

Next, I got to take them apart. Because you have to cook these suckers for a very long time. and they'll cook faster when you get rid of all the skin, bones, and whatnot.

And then throw them on top of some cooked wild rice and douse the whole thing with a beef-based sauce full of onions, garlic, parsley, and oregano that I'd concocted and had simmering on the stove while the pheasants were roasting.

Birds, Broth, Rice

Another hour in the oven, slightly less hot this time, and there's a yummy, rich sauce enveloping some delicious, if slightly game-y, (it's GAME, of course it's game-y!) pheasant. On a yummy bed of wild rice, impregnated with all the same flavors.

Finished Pheasant

Now, I'm not sure I'll ever make Pheasant again. And I didn't LOVE it, but it was actually fun to make, and Matt certainly enjoyed eating fresh-killed pheasant (When, in this world, can you ever eat something the same day it was alive? Sick, but probably more delicious than frozen.), and I got a story to tell. So all in all, awesome.


secretmom said...

wow, i'm so impressed. I couldn't eat it, but i admire your ability to cook it!

Kiki said...

You are awesome. It looked good to cook. Did you have to do some research on cooking it beforehand? I didn't know about adding the bacon grease, but I agree. Everything tastes better with bacon!

Vaguely Urban said...

the most twisted part? how the bacon-wrapped birds look like they're wearing bondage fetish gear!

Robot Zombie Vampire said...

This is similar to my own recipe, yet I also stuff the bird with several sticks of butter.

Christie said...

First off, RZV would NEVER cook anything himself. Second, gross. Those things would be in the trash so fast. But I am impressed by how pretty you made it look.

Anonymous said...


Let it be known that the mother in law recipient of these dead birds wanted nothing to do with them.

These pheasants were given to her by a SMC/ND friend who also didn't want them. This friends's husband (ND '71) shoots pheasants once or twice a year. No one wants these pheasants, not even Emily, ND grad/ daughter of pheasant shooter and friend of Matt and Marcia.

Marcia did a great job and made the birds look beautiful and chaste all decorated with bacon.

Photo number 3 looks like it belongs in an avante garde NYC neo-realist art gallery.

I couldn't eat them and had the salmon.

Ryan said...

Look at those legs!

Bobealia... said...

I had baby pheasant at a fancy restaurant once, and it wasn't so hot.