November 22nd, 2010

Slow-Cooked Pheasant, Pink Fir Fondant Potatoes and Celeriac Cream

The game season is continuing and it’s such a pleasure to see how well game is received and enjoyed by all the British Larder visitors. The best selling game dish so far is the Game tasting plate, followed by our famous Venison Wellington and Pheasant dishes.

Every week we have a different pheasant dish on the menu to offer variety, and to be honest, we simply do not get bored of being creative and coming up with something new each week. I will eventually get the recipe for Ross’s Pheasant Kiev one day and share it with you – it’s delicious!

This dish is what we call a team effort dish – nearly every member in the kitchen has contributed an idea or two to the creation of this dish. Maria sparked the whole idea by requesting us to do a slow-cooked pheasant dish and the rest all fell into place as the dish evolved. The pheasant and prune sausages are inspired by the delicious partridge and prune sausages that we make for the game tasting plate, and David the Village Veg man with his pink fir potatoes just had to feature too.

These birds are so pretty and they are always sold in pairs. Part of the reason for me embarking on the ventures of the British Larder in 2009 was because I think that chefs are privileged to see beautiful food produce in its raw state – sometimes it’s almost a sorry feeling that pretty-looking food should be peeled, plucked and chopped into smaller pieces. My passion for photography has always inspired me to portray the beauty I see in food, weather it’s raw or cooked.

We receive most of our game in the feather and fur; it’s a gory, messy yet satisfying job to pluck and skin it all… however Paul is the fastest pheasant plucker in our midst and Sorin is the skinner amongst us. Receiving the birds in feather is great; it put the skill back into our kitchen which is superb because we felt as chefs, we had lost the skill slightly. Our butchery skills are ropey and rusty but we are all working at it, honing and mastering the old skills. They say practice makes perfect – we certainly hope so! The worst part is to actually get rid of the feathers… they go absolutely everywhere, it’s a good thing that we are in the country!

The combination of the pink fir potatoes, celeriac and pearl barley is not coincidental - the earthy taste of these three ingredients, along with the pheasant, makes it a truly inspirational seasonal gem. When we construct dishes we encourage excitement for the palate and eye; the food must not only look pretty but with various textures it’s about making it interesting and exciting. Both Ross and I get bored of food easily and when we sit down to a meal we are looking for a dish that will keep our attention till the very last mouthful. This dish is undeniably one of those.

Slow-Cooked Pheasant

  • 2 whole pheasants
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Preheat the water bath to 62 °C.

Prepare the pheasants by plucking the birds and remove as many of the feathers as possible. Remove the legs from the crowns. Use the legs for the recipe below.

Remove the breast meat from the crowns. Season the breast with salt and pepper, and place the seasoned breast in a vacuum pouch and add the rapeseed oil, thyme and garlic. Seal the bags on full vacuum.

Cook the pheasant breast in the preheated water bath till 58°C, core temperature, it takes about 28 minutes.

Chill the pheasant breast in iced water and refrigerate until needed.

To serve the pheasant: brown the pheasant breast on the skin side in the hot pan with butter, until golden brown.

Transfer the pheasant breast to an oven tray and roast the breast for about 6-8 minutes, let the breast rest for 8 minutes once roasted.

Pheasant and Prune Sausages

  • Pheasant legs from the birds above
  • 200g sausage meat
  • 3 tbs chopped mixed herbs such as sage, parsley, rosemary, chives and chervil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 150g chopped prunes, soaked in 2 tbs Armagnac
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the water bath to 83°C.

Place the prepared legs in a vacuum pouch with two tablespoons of rapeseed oil, garlic and thyme, lightly season the legs. Seal the bag and cook the pheasant legs for 12 hours.

Once cooked, flake the meat and mix 200g of flaked pheasant meat with the sausage meat, season to taste add nutmeg and stir in the chopped herbs and prunes.

Shape into 30g sausage shaped balls and wrap each sausage in a rasher of the smoked streaky bacon.

Cook them in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden and cooked all the way through.

Herbed Pearl Barley

  • 300g cooked pearl barley
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1tbs rapeseed oil
  • 1tbs shallot confit
  • 1tbs mixed chopped chives, chervil and rosemary

Cook the pearl barley in salted boiling water with a few aromatics such as carrots, celery, thyme, garlic and leeks, once cooked drain and refresh.

To reheat warm the pearl barley through in a pan with the shallot confit and rapeseed oil, season to taste and stir the herbs through just before serving.

Pink Fir Fondant

  • 16 pink fir potatoes
  • 1 block of unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Water

Scrub the pink fir potatoes and dry.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a bit of the butter, brown the potatoes all over, and season lightly. Once the potatoes are golden add the remainder of the butter with a dash of water, place a cartouche on top and transfer the potatoes to a preheated oven at 180°C. Cook them for about 15 - 20 minutes (the time depends on the size of the potatoes) until tender.

Celeriac Cream

  • 300g celeriac
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 50ml double cream

Peel and finely slice the celeriac, place it in a vacuum bag, add the butter and seasoning. Seal on hard vacuum.

Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan and place the vacuum bag in the water, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to simmer for 40 minutes.

Puree the celeriac in a blender until very smooth, add the cream, and if it’s still too thick then add more cream.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if need.

To Serve

Spoon the celeriac cream onto warm plates; place the drained fondant potatoes in position along with the cooked pheasant sausage. Spoon the warm pearl barley onto the plate and place the sliced pheasant breast on top. Serve with blanched purple sprouting broccoli and a drizzle of pheasant Madeira sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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11 Comments to “Slow-Cooked Pheasant, Pink Fir Fondant Potatoes and Celeriac Cream”

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  1. Jamie says:

    Made this for 8 on Saturday – extremely well received and the precision of the sous vide is a revalation

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