Midi Pheasant

midi pheasant

I found a recipe for Midi Pheasant, by Julia Drisdell (courtesy of Clarissa Dickson Wright) several years ago. Midi Pheasant is somewhat like a pheasant pot roasted with ratatouille vegetables, which sounded most appealing to me. I tried the recipe last year, but found there were far too many vegetables for one bird (and a large cast iron casserole), not to mention the fact that the included cucumber made the dish slightly bitter. Unperturbed, one year later, I pulled a pheasant out of the freezer in order to take advantage to the seasonal vegetables that are still on sale at the farmer’s market and changed the recipe for the better (IMHO). The vegetables should still be available when pheasant season starts on 1st October.

pheasant

Pheasant were probably introduced to Britain by the Romans and were definitely well established by the time of the Normans. It should be relatively easy to buy pheasant from a decent butcher during the shooting season, October 1st to February 1st and from December onwards they should be the size of a small to medium chicken.

The Midi referred to in the name of the recipe is the southern part of France, and contains the regions of Aquitaine, Languedoc, and Provence, bordered by Spain in the south and Italy in the East. Many parts of the Midi were once under Catalan control, as can be seen on the Provencal flag, which is the Coat of Arms of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona. It is said that the first Count (Bera) of Barcelona, originally a French vassal, may have been a Visigoth from Toulouse. The Midi has a Mediterranean climate and therefore, the fresh vegetables required are available well into the pheasant season.

Midi Pheasant recipe(serves 3):

1 large pheasant
2 large onions (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 medium courgettes (thickly sliced)
2 red peppers (thickly sliced)
6 tomatoes (grated)
1 aubergine (thickly sliced)
24 black olives (Kalamatas)
2 large squirts anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme ground with a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper
100ml chicken stock
a splash red wine vinegar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

onion

Poach the onions in extra virgin olive oil until they have become soft.

pheasant with onion

Season the pheasant with sea salt and cracked black pepper then place breast down in the centre of the onions.

vegetables

Place the chopped vegetables around the bird.

herbs

Grind the herbs with coarse sea salt and black peppercorns.

grated tomatoes

Grate the tomatoes and discard the skins (or use them in stock).

olives

Use a handful of good quality black olives – mine were Kalamatas from Greece.

olives and tomatoes

Squirt in the anchovy paste, sprinkle on the herbs and olives then pour on the tomatoes, stock and red wine vinegar. Place the lid on the casserole and remove to a warm oven at 165º C.

vegetable stew

When 2 hours have elapsed, remove the pheasant, stir the vegetables.

pheasant returned

Put the bird back in, breast up, on top – cook with the lid off for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden.

midi vegetables

Allow the pheasant to rest for 15 – 20 minutes, loosely wrapped in foil, again breast down. Keep the vegetables warm for the duration, then sprinkle with parsley and spoon on top of the sliced pheasant.

roast potatoes

Make use of the oven being on by serving with roast potatoes. I recommend drinking a glass or two of Faisan d’Or Cabernet Sauvignon, from Domaine du Pere Guillot, with the Midi Pheasant.

Other Pheasant posts

About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
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4 Responses to Midi Pheasant

  1. Eha says:

    An interesting history lesson as usual and all my favourite vegetables prepared alongside. Do not have to tell you all the latter are available throughout the year here but none of the birdies are there for a ‘shooting season’ 🙂 ! Am finding your links most interesting tho’ . . . Am just wondering – do your beloved farmers’ markets function at all during the colder months of the year – silly Q but have not been in England during winter . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha – just about all vegetables are available here throughout the year in supermarkets, but it´s fantastic to eat them seasonally. The farmer´s markets are every week in the UK, except the week after Christmas or if they fall on Christmas day. My vegetable farmer, Martin has only missed one market in 22 years, due to a flat tire! He´s the most reliable person in the entire market, has the cheapest high quality vegetables and comes in person. The game stall just started back on the first week of September – ducks, partridges, hares etc. are available a month before pheasants.

      • Eha says:

        Thanks – but, I presume only fruits and vegetables grown ‘at home’ are available at the markets as opposed to supermarkets – does that mean mainly potatoes and root vegetables during the cold months or does the country have ‘hothouse’ produce available throughout ? Here we so welcome spring for asparagus and artichokes whilst having said the annual farewell to the ever-increasing truffle harvests . . .

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