Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pheasant Ragu

A pan full of lush
A spare brace of pheasant? Yes please! A kind friend delivered the promised goods, and I promptly hung them up in the garage, vowing not to forget about them. A few days later I decided it was now or never, rolled my sleeves up and skinned and gutted them, ready for the pot. I sat at the garden table, constantly looking over my shoulder for naughty foxes (Surbiton foxes are alarmingly bold) and dealt with the pheasants with my usual, slightly clumsy method, head, wings and legs off, then off with it's pyjamas and yank, out come the sausages, or something like that. Anyway, I eventually got them oven ready and proceeded to scare small boys playing in the street as, with bloodied hands I threw a heavy bag of pheasant parts in the dustbin. Mwahaha. Mr Pheasant was destined for ragu, and Mrs Pheasant awaits her fate in the freezer.

Pheasant makes a lovely ragu, much lighter than beef but just as, if not more tasty. Like all these slow cook jobs, it's easy as pie and cheap. No complaints there.

Makes enough ragu for 4 fatties. Add a generous glug of olive oil to a large casserole dish and add a couple of chopped carrots, a chopped onion, two sticks chopped celery and a few cloves of garlic, you guessed it, chopped. Let this soften gently, don't burn it or let it colour too much. Add a whole skinned pheasant to the pan and let it brown all over. Add a couple of bay leaves, pour over 1/3 of a bottle of red wine, a tin of tomatoes and season. The bird wants to be mostly covered by liquid at this point so top up with water if needs be. Season well, bring to the boil and then let it simmer, covered for about an hour. At this point give it a stir, turn the pheasant over and give it at least another half hour, leaving the lid half off to allow it to reduce a bit. The meat is cooked when it the legs come away from the body with a gentle nudge. Turn the heat off, remove the pheasant and shred the meat, and put it back in the pot. When all the meat is back in, check for seasoning. When I did this it was lacking a bit of oomph so I grated in some of that awesome 100% cacau chocolate and a few sploshes of Worcester sauce. It worked a treat and was perfectly oomphy after that. If the ragu still looks a bit wet, give it a blast to reduce further, otherwise simply serve on top of pasta, not forgetting a good grating of Parmesan.

Just what you need on a chilly winter's evening, now I need to find something yummy for Mrs Pheasant...

No comments:

Post a Comment