I’ve always felt a connection to Game birds, possibly due to being brought up in the Welsh countryside where they are in abundance or maybe during my time at university in Liverpool where the same applies. Whatever the reason I always look forward to hunting season as it means they’ll soon be arriving at the my kitchen door.
Over the previous weeks I’ve been lucky enough to receive Guinea fowl, this we served simply roasted with seasonal accompaniments. Wild Duck, made into a terrine with some smoked breast meat. Partridge, potted and served with pears (see what I did there!), Wood pigeon and in most plentiful supply of all, the pheasant.
Around 30 million pheasants are released onto shooting estates in the UK each year and most survive less than a year in the wild (if you’ve ever met a pheasant that last line won’t surprise you, in my experience they are properly stupid creatures which display a blatant disregard for the Highway Code) At Gales we are lucky enough to have many shoots taking place just a few miles away and are often lucky enough to receive a share of the spoils.
Although having a reputation for being sometimes dry, pheasant is a beautiful meat when treated with care. I like to confit the birds whole in goose fat for a few hours then shred the meat to make a classic rillette, gently saute the breast with some smoky bacon & celeriac or simply roast the whole thing and serve with roast potatoes, bread sauce and winter vegetables. It truly is a seasonal treat.
This month on the menu we shall have a spiced pressed terrine of pheasant, which is served with a courgette pickle and warm toasted bread….. It’s delicious, come and try it.