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.
Pheasants 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Put this in the fridge while you’re making 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.
Finely chop and fry the bacon.
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.
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.
Fry a small handful of the meat with a dollop of the sauce.
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.
Happy to say the whole thing turned out well. Most delicious. The sauce, if thick enough, can also be used as a toast topping.