The Pheasant and The Potato

Posted on February 17, 2012


One of our generous neighbours offered us a pheasant, and having never cooked a pheasant before I jumped at the chance.

Although he was a beautiful thing, carrying him back home felt a little odd. His soft feathers and firm weightiness made it feel like I was carrying a pet, rather than something for dinner. But I snapped myself out of it and after a quick photo shoot (me tramping about in deep snow in the garden and him hanging around on the log store door) I set about plucking and filleting him.

At this point I decided I should stop calling it ‘him’.

Now I’m not confident about cooking game, so although it was delicious I am not going to tell you how to cook pheasant. Go and read a recipe from someone much more accomplished, like Hugh FW.

What I DO know is how to cook potatoes.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Boulangère potatoes, I think, are even better than dauphinoise *gasps from the crowd*

I love my carbs, but I don’t like them to be too rich or laden with cream. I prefer them to be a foil to the main event so this is my current favourite. I don’t use floury maris pipers like the books tell you to either, I use the waxy charlotte type. They keep their integrity whilst cooking; you can’t beat a potato with integrity. (Well you can but it will go all gluey)

I layer thin slices of peeled potato intermingled with a few slivers of butter, sliced spring onions and salt and pepper. I pour on stock until it’s just visible peaking round the edge, then I top them with more butter slivers and a drizzle of garlic olive oil.

They go into a hot oven, covered in foil, for an hour, then uncovered for another hour.

Yes…it’s a long time, but time makes things delicious.

Thyme also makes things delicious, so I sometimes add that too.

The very tasty stock was from a boiled bacon joint that we had eaten the day before ‘Irish stylie’ with cabbage, potatoes and carrots. I’ll tell you about that another day.

Thanks to the generosity of those around us we made a good Winter’s meal of pan fried pheasant and creamy pepper sauce from the deglazed juices… all served with a side order of those lovely, lovely potatoes.