Pheasant and Cranberries

A recent trip to Minnesota to visit good friends included a bit of cooking, as any trip to visit good friends should. A later post will address a wonderful dining experience we enjoyed at a local restaurant, but for now we’ll focus on some of the dishes we created together. A bountiful harvest of pheasant provided inspiration and we further challenged ourselves to incorporate cranberries in each dish.

We allowed for global inspiration and the main dishes were decidedly more global fusion than Great Lakes Cuisine. But our opening tasting bites stayed pretty close to home and fall neatly within our definition of Great Lakes.

Pheasant - Cranberry

The bites were presented smørrebrød style (our passion for smørrebrød has been covered here and here) with two served on whole grain rye from Rubschlager, brushed with duck fat and toasted. The bite on the far right above is a turducken terrine, the middle is a pheasant breast mousse, and the far left is a country pâté of pheasant dark meat.

The turducken terrine was the result of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, which had been roasted with onions, apples and savory. A combination of light and dark meat was then pureed with a bit of apple and turkey fat until fairly smooth. The process was repeated with a smoked duck, and chicken was poached with lemon and herbs, and treated the same way. The mixture was layered and allowed to cool overnight. We served it with a spiced cranberry/stone ground mustard.

The pheasant mousse was made from poached pheasant breasts, pureed very smooth with shallots, herbes de Provence and cream. A bit of gelatin was added to help give the mixture body and then allowed to cool. We then piped the mixture onto beet crisps and topped with a wine candied cranberry.

The country pâté consisted of finely chopped (not pureed) poached pheasant dark meat, carrots, onions, and spices. It was topped with a quick pickled relish of red onions and thin sliced cranberries.

Just to satisfy those of you who are curious, the main courses were a PiriPiri spiced pheasant and a Korean BBQ-style pheasant. The spiced pheasant breast included sumac and grated cranberry in addition to more traditional spices and allowed to marinate overnight. After being grilled over very high heat, it was served on a caramelized corn waffle with a spiced cranberry syrup. The Korean BBQ pheasant played off the flavors of Kalbi ribs, with pureed pear and cranberry added to the marinade of soy, sesame, and spices. A portion of the marinade was later reduced to provide a sauce, topped with the quick grilled pheasant breast, and served with turkey broth rice and a kimchi/bok choy slaw made with thick-cut bacon.

In every variation, the rich flavors of the pheasant were highlighted by the tart fruit of the cranberries – a natural Great Lakes Cuisine flavor combination.

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