I have only ever cooked pheasant once before and I don’t remember it being a great success, I think I completely over cooked it as I was paranoid about it being raw. Pheasants and most other game are really lean due to the lack of fat so over cooking can ruin them. There’s another couple pheasant recipes but I picked this one as it involves really simple ingredients, and the recipe doesn’t include wine!
4 rashers of bacon
4 tomatoes halved
Quarter pound of mushrooms
Bunch of watercress
Slit the pheasant down the back and flatten; brush it with melted butter and dust with salt and pepper. Grill lightly for 5 minutes under a medium heat, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and dust with cayenne. Continue to grill for about 20 minutes, turning the bird frequently. Roll up the bacon and grill them with the tomatoes and mushrooms, for 3-5 minutes until cooked. Serve the pheasant with the bacon rolls, tomatoes, mushrooms and watercress arranged around it.
I wasn’t looking forward to the slitting of the pheasant, but considering it’s quite a small bird it wasn’t too tricky. Good sharp knife will do the trick. It is really quite small and in some game recipes it suggests one bird should serve one, think this is about right for two.
I thought the amount of butter was a lot, so rather than brush the whole amount on initially I used it as a baste every time I turned it. The recipe says to put the breadcrumbs on and then turn frequently, this ended up in loads of the breadcrumbs falling off which I thought seemed wrong. Also the breadcrumbs were getting pretty blackened (not burnt!!), so I think if I was doing this again I’d stick with the butter baste on turning and then at the last turn put on the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs were tasty, but I just seemed to waste loads.
I think I cooked this longer than 20 minutes, I could still see some pinkness, so while I put it back under the grill I quickly checked google and it is ok to serve pheasant slightly pink. The tomatoes, bacon and mushrooms took longer than 5 minutes; think that’s due to my grill, it’s either hot or off!
I think it looked good in the serving dish with the watercress, veg and bacon, and it tasted good as well. This was enough for the three of us; my daughter loved it and said it was now one of her favourites, although she did say it tastes a bit like chicken! I knew she would try it but genuinely pleased she enjoyed it, not many 5 year olds are fans of pheasant! The breadcrumbs were tasty, and you could just get a bit of the cayenne flavour. The veg were good accompaniments, as was the lovely peppery watercress. The meat does have a nice subtle flavour; not an overpowering taste that you sometimes expect from game.
All in all a good Sunday dinner. There isn’t masses of meat on this size of bird and I usually hate to throw away chicken carcass but wasn’t sure if I could use the bones to make pheasant stock?