Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Pheasant ala 21 Club and Some Delicious Sides


Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Carving the Pheasant; Family Serving Thanksgiving Dinner

I love the Thanksgiving tradition, but I'm not crazy about the taste of turkey. Over the years, I've cooked Turducken (turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) which is tasty but extraordinarily rich and Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding instead of turkey. But, this year I cooked up a couple of Roast Whole Pheasant using a recipe for Guinia Hen as a guide in The "21" Cookbook (which by the way is one of my favorite cookbooks for game cooking and holiday fare -- it was published in 1995 when Michael Lomonaco was still the chef at the 21 Club Restaurant in midtown - and before he went to Windows on the World).

My mother and sister-in-law Wendy brought a bunch of side dishes, and I made some wild rice, Brussels sprouts and cranberry and tart cherry sauce with cloves.

We all used local ingredients where we could.

MENU
Long Island Pheasant Gumbo and White Rice -- Amuse Bouche - Lexi
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2 - 3 pound whole Long Island Roast Pheasants with an herb and VT maple syrup glaze - Lexi
Wild Rice Blend Cooked in LI Pheasant Stock with Pecans - Lexi
Homemade Pheasant Gravy using a duck fat roux- Lexi
Pureed Butternut Squash (Golden Earthworm CSA in Huntington) - Wendy
Hashed Brussels Sprouts - (Green Thumb Watermill) Lexi's 2008 Thanksgiving recipe
Sweet Corn Pudding (without cheese) - courtesy of Gourmet - Nov. 2009 - Sandra
New England Cranberry and Tart Cherry Sauce - courtesy of Bon Appetit - Lexi
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Homemade Deep Dish Apple Pie (LI Apples) - Wendy
Pumpkin Pie and Whipped Cream - Wendy

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RECIPE
Roast Whole Pheasants with Herb and Vermont Maple Syrup Glaze

Marinade:
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons dried thyme
4 tablespoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons dried rosemary
6 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons maple syrup (Vermont)
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
6 bay leaves


2 (3 - 4 pound) pheasants
20 slices of fresh cut bacon
10 dried apricots
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 onion, peeled and quartered

Combine all marinade ingredients. Place the pheasants in a large, deep bowl that is non-reactive (not metal or plastic) and pour marinade over the birds and in the cavity. Refrigerate, covered for 1-2 days. Turn occasionally so birds marinate evenly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pheasants on a rack in a roasting pan and reserve the marinade liquid. Stuff the pheasants with the dried fruit and onion quarters and wrap the birds in bacon so the meat stays moist during cooking. Truss the birds and place the breast sides down before putting the pan in the oven. After 20 minutes, decrease the temperature to 325 degrees. Roast approximately 2 hours, checking the temperature using an instant read thermometer after 1 1/2 hours.

While the pheasants are roasting, place the reserved marinade in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce from 2 cups to 1/2 cup of liquid. About 15 minutes before the roasting is done, pour the liquid over the pheasants and finish cooking.

When the pheasants reach 160 degrees, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove bacon, fruit and onions from birds and carve into serving sized portions. Reserve fruits and onion to garnish the pan. Serve with homemade gravy made from pheasant stock.



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