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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.

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Jack’s Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burger (20p)

Facebook post 16 Mar 2016.

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This is arguably the recipe that brought Jack Monroe into the limelight and the first one that I tried.

1202340The original 2013 blog (superseded by www.cookingonabootstrap.com in late 2015) where this and other recipes were originally posted are archived here, and a BBC Business article featuring Jack a couple of weeks later here. I discovered the recipes in 2015 and their simplicity and low cost got me interested in cooking for myself.

I did a bit of basic cheffing many years ago, and it was these articles that promoted me to ‘take up the knife’ again.

Astonishingly, discovered a single ‘web ghost‘ showing the place I used to work, although the date stamped on the photograph (2003) is impossible – the business was dissolved in 1997 (I was there a few years earlier) and has changed hands and names several times since. Mixed memories, but mostly great fun and window into a world I could never have imagined.

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For my version of the CCK burgers I finely chopped an onion, grated three smallish carrots, and then located the dustpan and brush and swept up all the bits of onion, peel and carrot chippings which had appeared on the kitchen floor and elsewhere.

Drove to Tesco to buy a proper can opener because the budget one I got from there didn’t work and was grinding bits of metal into the tin of kidney beans I was trying to open. Spent a few pounds on a decent one, and successfully opened the tin.

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Rinsed the goo off the beans, covered them with water in a saucepan, brought to boil then simmered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile soft fried the veg.

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Mashed everything together with a heaped teaspoon of flour and teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder, then with floury hands made burger shapes and browned them off in the frying pan.

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Toasted some brown bread and made a burgerwich. With a dash of tabasco it was excellent.. There was enough mix left to make 4 more. Cost as a meal (inc. bread, butter, tea and electricity, but not petrol to get to Tesco and get the new can opener), 20p.

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Chicken burgers (95p)

Facebook post 22 Nov 2016:

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Mash the meat of a slow-cooked whole chicken to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Mix in a soft-fried fine-chopped onion, a mashed boiled carrot and two crushed garlic cloves. Mix everything together with 2 eggs and a teacup of breadcrumbs. Make burger shapes on a floury board and fry in olive oil. Makes 10 burgers. Two between some buttered bread with a bit of salad, and with a cup of tea (and including cost of electricity), about 95p a meal.

I tried them on their own at first, as in the picture, but later decided better as a proper burger.

This was partly inspired by Yota Nikalau (Γιώτα Νικολάου)  of faghta-giagias.blogspot.com.ta_fagita_tis_giagias_17awho says she gained her love of cooking from her grandma, who advised her at a young age to learn the basic rules and skills of cooking, but then to experiment.

We should not be slaves of recipes, the quantities and the scoop, but let our instincts and, above all, our love lead us. In other words, we must be convinced that cooking is an act of love, a gift, a way to share with others the experiences that simmered in the eyes of our kitchen.

An impressive web site which, thanks to Google Translate, I’ve been exploring.