The Book of a Classy 18th century foodie spikes my interest in wild game. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin humbly published an impressive biography titled “The Physiology of Taste: Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy,” Portraying his deep appreciation and almost romantic relationship with food. An exciting read that gave me new life and an unexplainable feeling that I somehow walked away richer with a deeper understanding of the inner workings of a true Gourmand.
“Above all feathered game should come the pheasant, but once again few mortal men know how to present it best.” – Brillat-Savarin writes proudly, proclaiming that the feathered game is worthless unless it has been aged properly, being only a true delicacy if eaten as it begins to decompose. Most of his passionate passages evoked such emotion in myself that I feel compelled to do something… Like cook a great pheasant.
Sourcing a pheasant came entirely way to easy… There is a small pheasant farm about fifteen miles from my house. The Farm is ran by an elder couple that were eager to introduce me to their flock. Zwickey’z Pheasant Farm provided me with two beautiful birds killed a week prior to my arrival. This being my first “real-life” encounter with the beautiful birds, I wanted to get up close to admire the feathered mosaics that littered the cocks. The Roosters were decorated in brilliant, bright, vibrant colors, obviously an impressive feature to the bland leopard patterned hens.
As I get the birds cleaned and dressed for dinner, I approach the task very conscience of what I have read about the bird. “Too dry to work well with turffles”, Brillat-Savarin summarizes at the end of his Pheasant passage… I decide to work into a doomed situation as opposed to taking a more suggested route. Knowing where the bird lacked naturally gave me the knowledge and power to enhance the dish in those precise areas, optimizeing flavor and quality of the dish. I would make a Truffle Stuffed Pheasant. I would make a truffled mousse with the legs of the bird, which would then be rolled up inside of the breast then all pan-roasted, an execution that I learned earlier this year while working under a remarkable Chef in North Carolina.
Truffled Pheasant Notes:
- Butcher the birds delicately, they are small and fragile
- To add moisture, I soaked the breast in a brine for two hours
- Clean the legs quarters carefully, there are a lot of tiny bones.
- Cook a piece of your mousse to check the seasoning before filling the breast.
- Let your ideas and intuitions orchestrate the plate, if you think that the bird would be great with potatoes and herbs… than use potatoes and herbs