In Praise of Pheasant

We were the happy recipients of pheasant breasts and pheasant sausage from a recent hunt club excursion. This is not our first time receiving the gift of pheasant, you can re-live our past culinary explorations here when we went with smoke and maple glaze. This go round we re-purposed the sausage into a Country Pâté and served the breasts topped with Carr Valley’s Black Goat Truffle cheese.

Pheasant Pate

Country Pâté – Pheasant with Cherry

1 cup sherry
½ cup dried Montmorency cherries

1 lb ground pheasant
1 lb ground pork
2 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
2 tsp dried thyme
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp clove

6 slices smoked bacon (Such as Nueske’s)

Bring sherry and cherries to a boil. Allow cherries to re-hydrate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all remaining ingredients except bacon in a large bowl, strain cherries and add to mixture. The strained sherry has a lovely flavor and may be used in a cocktail or other application. Line a loaf pan foil and then place two slices of bacon on the bottom and one slice on each side. Fill pan with meat mixture and lay last two slices of bacon across the top. Cover with aluminum foil.

Fill a 13 x 11 roasting pan with enough water to come half-way up the loaf pan and place a dish towel in the water under the loaf pan. Place in oven and allow to bake for about 2 hours or until it reaches 160 degrees. Remove and allow to cool. Wrap a brick in multiple layers of foil and place on top of the loaf, place in refrigerator for 12 hours.

Using the foil, remove the meat from the pan, remove the bacon and discard. Serve with rye cocktail bread, stone-ground mustard and refrigerator pickles. We happened to have some stone ground malt vinegar mustard and an onion jam with thyme, which blended together to become a very lovely accompaniment.

The pheasant breasts we grilled with just salt and pepper then topped with the truffle-infused cheese just before they were done, serving those with sauteed Swiss chard and a sprouted organic rice blend, each prepared similarly to our last post of red rice and kale. We then swirled in a half cup of mulled cranberries into the rice, which added spices and fruitiness to serve as a foil to the rich, truffled pheasant.

Pheasant Truffled

It was the first dinner outside this year and we happily enjoyed it with a Fun as Helles, a specialty bottling from Big Bay Brewing. The malty sweetness of the Mai Bock perfectly complemented the earthy truffle flavors.

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Summertime Musings

Saturday morning: Farmers market. Sunny, light breeze. My wife insists on beets. My children get churros from a Mexican bakery stand. Cucumbers, squash, greens, mixed sprouts, red onions, baby potatoes, the early harvest of summer. Oh, and sauerkraut. Jeff Ziebelman called me over and suggested I try a bit of their “Zauerkraut”, delicious. Red cabbage with the green cabbage, bit of carrots, fennel seed, let it ferment. You get this.

Zauerkraut

 

The cabbage retains a nice crunch and has developed a pleasant tang. Not over-salted, not over processed. So naturally the next thought – pairing. Roasted pork, with garlic and oregano, on the grill with apple wood chips. Low and slow, 3 hours. You get this.

Pork roast

Rich, sweet smoke flavors. Need a few sides. Throw beets on the grill, wrapped in foil. Slice the beet greens in half inch strips, toss with mixed sprouts. After the beets have cooled, cut to bite-sized pieces, toss them on the greens and top with blue cheese. You get this.

Beet salad

The baby potatoes. Let’s boil them until just tender, not mushy. Dress them with white wine, honey mustard, mayo, apple cider vinegar. My sister gave me some green onions from her garden. Perfect. Dice and toss it all together. You get this.

Potato Salad

Ooh, the cucumbers.

pickles2

Two cups vinegar, one cup sugar, 2 tablespoons pickling spices from Penzey’s. Boil, then chill. Slice the cukes thin, toss into the brine, wait a few hours. You get this.

pickles

Put it all together. Summer bliss.

Summer dinner Great Lakes Cuisine plays with seasonality in many ways. Feature the fruits of the season. Preserve the bounty for out-of-season, fermentation, salting, vinegar, canning. But try take a moment to enjoy the perfect evenings, the flavors, the conversations shared with family and friends. The experience, over time, becomes culture. Enjoy.