14 February 2008

valentine's day menu

I've been busy this morning, doing a little dinner preparation. Though Oliver refuses to believe me, CD did indeed propose to me on Valentine's day, five years ago. We didn't really think about doing anything until it was beyond too late to try for a sitter. Instead, we will have a quiet dinner together after the kids are in bed.

CD is a bit of a dark chocolate fiend so I made the chocolate mousse with some killer Valrhona 85%. Oh. My. I hope he recognizes the restraint I had to exercise while making dessert. I guess the romance isn't entirely dead after all.

The rest of the menu is pheasant in a dried cherry and port sauce, if the pheasant thaws, and some sauteed swiss chard. I forgot to take the birds out of the freezer last night. As spaniel owners, we love to watch our dogs and those of our friends do what they were bred to do. We work at or spectate at hunt tests as often as we can. Though I have no desire to ever fire a gun, I have enormous respect for those who work their dogs in the field AND eat the results. I was fortunate to be offered some pheasant by a hunter friend, already cleaned and bagged. A major, irresistible treat. I hope my meager cooking skills can do the birds justice.

If all goes well, I will post the recipes tomorrow.

1 comment:

Landon said...

I love to eat pheasant . Here is a great recipe I frequently utilize:

Braised Pheasant in Gin and Juniper
Serves 2


1 Pheasant (2 to 3 pounds)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 to 8 slices bacon
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup slivered shallots
½ teshtmloons juniper berries, crushed
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup high-quality gin
¼ cup dry sherry
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter ( optional)


1. Season pheasant with salt and pepper and truss cavity closed to help maintain shape. Completely wrap bird with bacon, and tie with string.
2. In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute bird in oil until golden brown on all sides. Cover and cook slowly for 35 minutes. Uncover, skim off fat, and cook until bird is tender and juices run pink when thigh is pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes more.
3. Remove pheasant to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off fat from pan, and add shallots, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Saute until shallots are soft but not browned. Add gin and sherry and carefully ignite. When flame dies out, add stock and reduce quickly over high heat to a light sauce consistency. Whisk in parsley and butter, if desired.
4. Remove and discard trussing strings from pheasant. Carve bird into serving pieces. Pour sauce over and serve immediately.