Here at the Park we have a pheasant & duck shoot and today is the last day of the season. BD and his son have gone out for the last time to be with all those who make it possible for them to enjoy their sport. All the beaters and pickers also shoot today. To some extent this is the Keeper’s, beaters’ and pickers ups’ day.
The pheasants love the Walled Garden. It is full of things they like to eat which of course in turn make them super delicious. Here you can see one back at the start of the season in early October, hiding in my cutting garden.
So in celebration of the end of season tonight we’ll have Pheasant Pithiviers. This is a way of serving pheasant so it is very tender. Pheasant can’t take long cooking, they becomes like elastic bands, tough and chewy. I take one pheasant breast per person. Those that are a bit shot up, about half, I mince with pancetta, onion and currants soaked in balsamico. I actually put all that through a proper meat mincer. A food processor cuts the meat too fine. I cut out puff pastry circles and line a mould about the size of a coffee cup and then I put the mince inside. On top of that I put a piece of pheasant breast and then more of the mince. Finally I close up the pastry as tidily as I can – this is not a factory, so I want them to look good, but home made – then I turn out the pitihivier from it’s mould, prick the top and brush with egg wash. I bake it on 180C till the pastry is golden brown. I usually serve them with Dauphinoise potatoes and Cavolo Nero from the Glass Houses in the Walled Garden.
After an hour and a half in the kitchen I have 8 Pheasant Pithiviers and 12 Eccles Cakes to go with Mike’s Young Buck cheese. All the complicated bits are ready for the team to come in and do the honours.