All game is good for you. The animal or bird has eaten what it has meant to and has led a natural life. This means that the meat is full of goodness. We pay homage to the Paleo diet – protein and vegetables, nuts, seeds and minimal fruit – yet until the time machine is invented, we can only really guess what was eaten. However, one thing is certain: in parts of the world out of the tropics, we ate animals and fish, and they were wild. If we didn’t, we would have starved in winter and early spring. And so if game can be sourced, it should be eaten with gay yumming. However, a problem with game is that it can be a dry meat, especially pheasant and rabbit. I got a magnificent pheasant from my butcher in Great Dunmow, Alan Coulson. Knowing I find pheasant a little dry, plus having my usual 10 minutes max to prepare my dinner, I did this with the bird.
- Mixed root vegetables, chopped up. Carrots, parsnips, celeriac, turnips etc. Depends what you have got kicking about the fridge.
- 1 pheasant.
- About 3 rashers of organic streaky bacon, good and fatty.
- Small wineglass dry vermouth/white wine
- Olive oil.
Serves 2 – 3.
- Pour a thin layer of olive oil in a large saucepan and warm it up a bit.
- Pour the vegetables and oregano into the saucepan and stir them around a little to coat and warm up.
- Put the pheasant into the saucepan and nestle it into the veg.
- Drape the streaky bacon over the bird.
- When everything is slightly sizzling, add the vermouth.
- Cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to minimal – I use a heat diffuser. Then rush off and do loads of things for 1½ – 2 hours, approx.
- Come back to the kitchen and whilst the side veg are cooking, take the bird out of the saucepan, take the bacon off the bird and cut it into bits. Keep the bird warm.
- Add the bacon to the veg and stir about. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper. Up to you if you want to reduce it or not.
- Decant the veg onto a large serving dish, put the bird on the top and serve.
Another problem with pheasant is knowing the age of the bird. An older bird will be tougher. This way of cooking pheasant, which essentially steams the bird, suits either young or old birds.
I ate it with curly kale into which I chopped a sweet potato. If garlic is liked/can be tolerated, this would be an excellent addition. I cooked the kale in a little water and some olive oil, salt and pepper. So when the kale was more or less cooked – does take a little while – I uncovered the pan and turned up the heat a bit to slightly fry the kale in the oil.