November 14th, 2011
I went to the butcher to buy a pheasant – it’s pheasant season, they’re getting quite big and the price is down to £3 each, which is cheaper than last year! Graham (the butcher) mentioned he’d cooked a chicken and stuffed it with Morcilla de Burgos recently and that inspired me to try the same with pheasant.
Morcilla de Burgos is a Spanish black pudding which contains rice. The butcher sells La Ribera, which smells like it contains coriander and cumin, spices which go well with pheasant, without overpowering it.
I couldn’t help being amused by the packaging, it describes the Morcilla as rice pudding – which is technically true, but not quite what the English think of as rice pudding!
I chopped up one third of a hot Chorizo ring and fried it in extra virgin olive oil for a couple of minutes before adding 6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped). You don’t need to cook the garlic for long – it looks browned in the picture, but actually that’s the pimenton colour coming out of the Chorizo.
You only need half a Morcilla, so put one bit back in the fridge. Remove the skin from the half you are using and break it up into a bowl. Add the chorizo and garlic to your Morcilla, with the oil from the frying pan – pheasants don’t have much fat on them so the olive oil will help to keep it moist. Mix up the stuffing with your hands.
Spoon the stuffing into the cavity of the bird,
sprinkle on salt and pepper and wrap it with 4 or 5 slices of smoked streaky bacon. The bacon adds flavour and fat to keep the pheasant juicy.
Roast in a preheated oven, at 200º C for about an hour (I added a little red wine vinegar and a glass of red wine to the juices as the bird cooked) and remove the bacon when it gets crispy.
Baste and cook for a further 30 minutes to brown the pheasant. Keep the bacon, it can be chopped up and added to your vegetables.
The pheasant tasted amazing, the morcilla stuffing had flavoured the whole bird and I could imagine eating it in the restaurant Moro. I suggest serving it with seasonal vegetables, such as artichokes, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, cauliflower, etc.