Sunday, November 21, 2010
Slow cooker "Smitten" Pheasant recipe
I was inspired to try it when I noted that Scott over at Real Epicurean was running a blog carnival highlighting posts involving game. I already had a pheasant in my freezer begging for my attention so this was just the kind of challenge I needed.
So here's my easy-to-achieve recipe for Smitten Pheasant in the slow cooker. (And yes, for those of you who know me well, of course I bought it on special!)
Ingredients for 2:
One pheasant - ours was 500g or about a pound
Sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 rashers of smoked bacon
1 small onion, diced
100 ml dry white wine
2 tsp butter
200 ml crème fraiche or sour cream
Put the pheasant into your slow cooker. I used a 4 litre/quart cooker for this but more birds would require a bigger pot. Into the cavity put half the sprig of thyme and the garlic clove. Drape the bacon length ways over the breast of the pheasant. Add the onion, white wine and butter to the pot. Cook on High for 3 hours. Check that the juices are running clear and that your pheasant is fully cooked.
Leaving the pheasant in the pot to keep warm, put the bacon into a frying pan/skillet and fry for a few minutes until stiff but not crispy. Remove the bacon to a warm plate and chop up (I use scissors) into small strips, ready to add to the sauce. Briefly put the pheasant onto a warm plate while you drain the cooking juices from the slow cooker into the same pan you cooked the bacon in. Return the pheasant to the pot to stay warm and reduce the pan juices by a third or so. Stir the crème fraiche into the pan juices, add the bacon and tip the whole lot over the pheasant.
Serve with rice and a green vegetable, such as broccoli or spinach.
The sauce was heavenly and the slight sourness of the crème fraiche highlighted rather than distracted from the gamey taste of the meat. The bacon could have overpowered the pheasant (you wouldn't want too salty a batch of bacon) but instead complemented it. The meat had stayed moist and tender as I had hoped as pheasant can be a dry bird. I had thought the slow cooker might be the ideal way of getting around this and it seems to have worked.
On a purely personal note however I think we'll wait until the kids have left home before cooking pheasant again. For the two tired parents of an energetic toddler enjoying a peaceful Friday night, the number of bones was exhausting to deal with! I think cooking a larger bird would have helped as we could have just eaten the easy bits like the breast but this dish was, although delicious, a pleasure hard won! I do like game birds and they don't have to be hard to cook but I may let someone else do it for me for the time being!