HagelToast - tales from a tiny kitchen

Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconiles everybody. Samuel Pepys

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pheasant Casserole and Chilli Chocolate

This handsome pair of Cock Phessies were a sacrifice to a friend, however the source of these plump and delicios chapswas my mum's garden. I amvery fortunate,my parents live in North Devon, it's beautiful and slightly wild countryside, though Exmoor is less bleak than Dartmoor. They are at the top ofthe hill andsome days are among the clouds, but on a clear day you can see forever. This has various advantages, oneis I never complain about visiting my folks, because I get free roomand board in lovely lodgings in someofthe most gorgeous countryside England has to offer the other, is that being slap bang in the middle of popular shooting country they get endless Pheasants attempting to destroy the lawn. Mum, as a result has a freezer full of thee birds, already cleaned and jointed, which when i want them, is how i take them, but Warro is hardier than me, so he got theminthe feather.

First of all Pheasant, if you have never had it, does not taste of chicken,it has a distinctive flavour, and being game, some people hang itfor a nice long time to give it a very strong flavour. Not really being game people, Mum only hangs them for about two days, in practical terms this means they are milder flavoured and only slightly wiffy instead of stinking when she prepares them.

I'm rambling, here's the recipe:
Norfolk Casserole of Pheasant
Serves4 (origin unknown to me)

1 large or two small pheasants
1/2 pint of chicken or game stock (chicken has a milder flavour)
1oz flour
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
4 rashers of bacon
2 medium onions
1tbsp sunflower or olive oil
1/4 pint sweet cider
2 dessert apples
2 tbsp sweet sherry (opt)

Preprepare up to stage 7 the day before if possible, but certainly early.
1) cut birds into approx 8 pieces for 4 people
2) blend flour with seasoning and herbs, coat the joints
3) de rind bacon and cut into small pieces, finely chop onions
4) heat bacon rrinds in oil and add coated birds, cook 10 mins turning several times
5) transfer birds to casserole, put onions and bacon in pan & cook for 5 mins, put on joints in casserole
6) pour stock and cider into pan, stir and season, boil briskley for 5 mins, discard rinds and pour sauce intocasserole to just cover meat
7) cover and cook 1hr in preheated oven at 180deg (moderate oven)

8) core but donot peel apples and cut into rings and add to top of casserole, add sherry
9) continue cooking for 1/2 hour to 1 hour at 180 deg

white or red wine can be used instead of cider, sherry and apples. Personally i use a scrumpy cider and skip the sherry and apples. Yummy.

Now i said something about chocolate
a few days ago, i came acros for the first time, the concept of hot chocoalte infused with chilli. Wow!!! Well, today i was oin Nottingham for my course, and they have some shops we don't in leicester, including this palce http://www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/cx1/
Ah, thought i, while i am preoccupied with hot chocolat anyway, i will bet they do the good stuff, from solids instead of powder. Quite right,they do, and guess what, they do a chilli one.
I tried it tonite and it was good. My only critisism is that i have in the past used the tiny buttons of solids and they are nicer to handle and melt easier to a better contistancy then the chocolate marbles hotel chocolat use. But if you are a chocoholic go and indulge yourself with a browse of their website.


  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger yellowandorange said…

    No pheasants here...well, we have pheasants, but I don't have access to them.
    I've heard of chocolate infused with chili, but never tried. I'll have to try it some day!


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