On the subject of English country life, which I wrote a little bit about yesterday, we were wildly enthusiastic enough during our visit a few months ago to shoot, pluck, cook and eat our own food (well, once anyway).
What was on the menu in December? Pheasant.The only slight problem with pheasant is that I’m not that keen on it, having grown up on the stuff and eaten it one too many times in various badly disguised forms (my mother’s speciality was ‘chicken’ lasagne, peppered with pieces of shot).
H promised me that this time he’d do something different with it and make it taste delicious (‘H’ actually stands for husband but in this instance it could just as easily be ‘H’ for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – the ‘kill it, cook it, eat it’ forager that my own urban, Singapore-dwelling H seemed to have temporarily morphed in to).
Here’s the ‘kill it’ bit (Cheshire):
We were staying in a sweet little cottage in Broadwell (emphasis on the little; it was tiny inside) for the ‘pluck it’ part . April Cottage:
Not very well equipped for plucking six pheasants, we decided the best place for it was probably on the outdoor dining table:
We actually just took the breasts off which is a much quicker way of dealing with them (the rest of the bird hardly has any meat on it so you don’t feel too bad throwing it away)
They were then pummeled between sheets of clingfilm with a rolling pin until they were nice and thin (this is the bit I helped with)…
…and dipped in flour, a beaten egg and breadcrumbs before being shallow fried – for two minutes on each side over a medium heat – in butter:
Served up with a wedge of lemon and some steamed broccoli, even I have to confess it was pretty delicious.
No one else managed to crunch down on any tiny pieces of shot except me. This is what I am talking about (the silver ball is the shot, the pea is only there to give you indication of size):
But perhaps it just adds to the general flavour and the overall excitement, in the form of ‘will I/won’t I break a tooth eating this?! ‘