This year I turned 30, yet I have somehow ticked off more firsts in the first 6 months that I had in a long time prior. This week was no exception, with another new meet cooked and eaten, and an interview on TV booked for a few weeks time. Suddenly eating lambs testicles doesn’t seem so hard…
I also hit a new best with a low box squat in the gym this week. Geeky, I know, and to quote the legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy “It’s boring, but it’s my life”. Well not entirely my life, I think I’ve got it pretty well balanced, and more to the point of course, I certainly don’t think it’s boring. Hard work and setting a good example in the gym is just part of walking the walk. That is after all the talking I do…
All this hard work is leading me down a path I never would have pictured when I turned 30 in January this year. I clearly knew I was going to try a large variety of meats, many of them new to me. My ‘working’ list is just that, evolving each week. I’m constantly chasing more obscure or ‘out there’ meats. Some proving much harder to come by than others!
What was it this week?
As mentioned, it was another new one for me this week, however, not such an obscure one. It was Pheasant. Certainly not available for purchase in most supermarkets, but it’s out there to be eaten nonetheless. Common pheasant as this bird is known. Kind of cheapens the poor bird with the ‘common’ at the front there doesn’t it? What about just Pheasant? Simple and not in the slightest bit derogatory. I digress.
I got my hands on this little beauty and immediately spent the next 15 minutes cleaning and pulling out stray feathers and what looked more like hairs. I washed the cavity, dried the bird and checked the recipe that I’d found ‘online’. In my eternal pursuit to clock the internet I stumbled upon a simple but lovely looking recipe for roast pheasant. Warning: the internet can get distracting…
This recipe required squeezing over the juice of half an orange then rubbing with salt, pepper, paprika and sage, before laying bacon over the breasts (not something you hear every day, ahem) and stuffing with the remaining orange, flat leaf parsley and garlic cloves.
That sounds quite simple, but let me assure you it wasn’t. First off I had forgotten to buy the bacon. I decided to flag it. Then the same for the parsley. And ditto. Then upon realising I out was of foil to cover the dish I spewed a few expletives and stormed out into the cold night to the supermarket. Eventually I was back in my toasty flat, the bird with bacon covered breasts was in the oven and the smells were wafting.
The recipe called for 45 minutes cooking whilst covered then once a small sauce of white wine and chopped dates were added to the pan, another 45 minutes. I was instantly sceptical upon first removal as the bird seemed cooked. I threw my toys a little as my kumara had yet to go into the oven and I did not want to ruin another game bird like the guinea fowl, especially when I had paid through the beak for it! (ah thank you…)
Recipe adjustment time!
Thanks to the lovely NN and her calming influence, we got the accompanying greens in the pan to sauté and essentially gave up on the kumara. The bird went back in for 10 minutes once basted with some of the wine and date mix and soon enough we were sitting down to enjoy what presented as a delightful looking meal. Lucky too, I was hungry enough to eat a possum…
Would it taste as good as it looked?
Would it ever! This bird was beautiful. Slightly darker than chicken for the most part, and carrying a richer, more meaty flavour with it. The smaller back leg was a bit of a handful, literally, to negotiate, but the breast was utterly delightful. The flavours of orange and garlic shone through and I was soon feeling very primal with meaty carcass in hand getting what I could off this lovely bird.
NN was the same and it brought us to a realisation that had the guinea fowl not been over cooked it would likely have carried a comparable fulfilling dining experience.
Would I have it again?
To be honest- not if it’s going to be as costly as this one was, but most certainly if it is readily available. Just ensure cooking time is well and truly at the front of mind and pheasant makes for a smashing meat.
Another one jammed pack full of wonderful nutrients and certainly a great substitute for other poultry. Pheasant is a fantastic source of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, especially B6, niacin, phosphorus and selenium. What more could you ask for from your dinner? “Hey pheasant, do the washing up would you?” not likely.
It is getting to the point where it’s more a case of what’s available each week, as opposed to any picking and choosing on my part. I would love to have a massive celebration for the half way mark next week, but I’ll just have to see how I go. Tom has mentioned one or two things, but until that time comes, you’ll have to tune in then and see what meat becomes number 26 in this year’s challenge to eat a different meat every week in 2012.
At this point does anyone doubt that I can do it? Apart from me from time to time…
What about suggestions? I’ve had some boomers and some much more questionable ones, but my list is always changing and I’m happy for it to do so. Please send me any suggestion you have, be it simple or weird and wonderful. If something is going to be weird for me to cook and eat it’s sure as hell going to be interesting to read about!
Keep the feedback and questions coming, and as mentioned at the start- I should have some TV interview footage coming soon, so get in now before I’m swept up in a media storm of meat and Mike… On that note- watch this space for website launching soon.