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Pheasant in a Creamy-cheesy Greek Sauce with Greek Salad

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This is no. 5 in my ‘101 Things To Do With a Dead Pheasant‘ quest. The sauce recipe was inspired by Patra Martios at faghta-giagias.blogspot.com. (Google couldn’t translate the page very clearly, so the sauce is very much a ‘based on’ creation, plus my own version of Greek salad.)

Not one of my budget recipes. Even if made with chicken or some other bird, still pricey, although the sauce goes a long way and eeks out the limited meat yield when cooking a pheasant.

Clipboard02Pheasants were, incidentally, known by the Greeks from ancient times. Originally an Asian species, they were traditionally said to have been introduced by traders via the Black Sea city of Phasis, hence ‘Pheasant’, but they probably arrived in Europe in prehistoric times by a variety of routes.

They were imported and bred in Britain in large numbers only from about 1100 AD (although visiting Romans a millennium earlier must have been familiar with the bird and may have brought the odd one over). Today, pheasants breeds very happily in the British countryside, although the majority one sees while out are captive-bred and released for shoots – there are, amazingly, tens-of-millions released each year.

INGREDIENTS

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THE MEAT

  • Pheasant (or chicken / duck / goose / guinea fowl / quail / ostrich / pterodactyl / whatever), cooked, broken into small pieces and well-fried in a small amount of olive oil with a sprinkle of all-purpose seasoning.

THE SALAD

  • Tomato – any well-flavoured ones, like home-grown, cherry or beef tomatoes.
  • ½ a red onion.
  • ½ a cucumber, peeled.
  • A pepper (any colour).
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • ½ a lemon.
  • 75 g feta cheese.
  • Dried oregano.
  • Rocket.

Sliced up the tomatoes, finely chop the onion, chop up the pepper and cucumber, break the feta into rough cubes. Mix together (not too violently, or you’ll pulverize the feta) in a bowl with a fistful of rocket leaves, a splash of the olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and good pinch or oregano.

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Put this in the fridge while you’re making the sauce.

THE SAUCE

  • 150 g of unsmoked bacon, finely chopped.
  • ½ a punnet of mushrooms.
  • 100 ml double cream.
  • 100 ml milk.
  • Good splash of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 50 g grated parmesan cheese (or the strongest hard Cheddar you can get). This costs a bit, but it is worth it for the flavour. Don’t buy cheap or powdered Parmesan, it tastes horrible.
  • Ground black pepper.
  • Cornflour.

Finely chop and fry the bacon.

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Thin-slice and cook the mushrooms on a moderate heat until all the moisture has bubble off – no oil needed, just let them bubble away in a non-stick frying pan until (almost) all the water has boiled/steamed off. They’ll reduce down to about ¼ of their original volume and have a rich flavour.

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Put the bacon, mushrooms and everything else together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring slowly, to melt the cheese in. Add a heaped desert spoon of cornflour until it is a moderately thick sauce consistency. If it goes too thick, stir in some more milk.

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Fry a small handful of the meat with a dollop of the sauce.

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On one side of the plate make a bed of rocket leaves, putting the meat/sauce mix on top, with the Greek salad on the other side.

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Happy to say the whole thing turned out well. Most delicious. The sauce, if thick enough, can also be used as a toast topping.

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Pheasant (or any meat) Tortilla Wrap (78p)

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Simple, quick and tasty. This is my fourth ‘101 things to do with a dead pheasant‘ dish, but would work with any suitable meat – chicken, pulled pork or lean, thin-cut beef for example.

  • 1 tortilla wrap.
  • 75 g meat.
  • Salad.
  • Horseradish (or ‘creamed horseradish’)
  • Mayonnaise.
  • All-purpose seasoning.

First the sauce – a generous desert-spoonful each of horseradish and mayonnaise, well-mixed together. Got this simple idea from an episode of Man v. Food. Not a recipe for the waistline, this one.

Broke/cut the meat into thin pieces and fried in olive oil with a generous sprinkle of all-purpose seasoning. I’d already prepared the salad – a ‘peppery leaf salad’ picked up for a few pence from the Tesco end-of-the-day shelf – broken up into bite-size pieces.

Microwaved the tortilla for 10 seconds and smothered one half with the sauce, adding salad, meat and rest of the sauce.

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Keeping it all contained when rolling up is a bit of a trick. A flat spatula is a big help. Have to do this reasonably quickly while the tortilla is still warm as it goes more rigid, keeping the filling secure, once cooler.

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A pleasing, tasty and very filling result which can also be eaten cold. Price depends on where one gets the ingredients. This as a meal (pricing for chicken rather than pheasant), including electricity, cup of tea, etc., cost me 78p, but with careful buying of ingredients could be closer to 50p.

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Pheasant Burgerwich and Sweet Potato Fries

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Not a budget recipe. I was generously given a couple of pheasants to experiment with and this is the result, no. 3 in my list of 101 things to do with a dead pheasantpheasant burgerwiches.

The issue with pheasant is that it is a dry, dense meat with a sort of meaty, slightly liver-like flavour, so needs something to capitalise on these qualities. A burgerwich with home-made ketchup and sweet potato fries seemed to fit the bill.

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The two birds happened to weigh 1 kg together. After cooking there was 300 g of meat, i.e. a yield of 30% meat per uncooked weight.

Cooked the pheasant and picked off the meat. Could have roasted it (expensively) in the oven, but I used the magical slow cooker – it cooks using no more energy than a light bulb, costing pennies rather than pounds – on ‘low’ for six hours overnight.

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Broke the meat into small pieces (not too small or it turns into crumbs) and fried it in light olive oil with a good shake of all-purpose seasoning, just long enough for the meat to start browning a bit.

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For the fries, I peeled a sweet potato (if they’re really smooth, you can just scrub them to get the dirt off) and cut it into thin fries – need a good-sized, heavy knife for this.

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Tossed them in a bowl with a bit of oil and more all-purpose seasoning (just salt and pepper will do if you haven’t got that) and roasted them for 30 minutes at 175°C – different ovens will need different times – just long enough for some of them to start browning or singeing at the ends.

For the burgerwich I used lightly toasted buttered bread, with a layers of salad, home-made tomato and onion relish, meat, more relish and salad.

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The result was fine, athough having consumed a kilo of sweet potato fries while testing cooking times, the novelty was wearing off and I was craving normal fries again.

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Have different plans for the second pheasant … watch this space.