My last winter-celebration dinner at home was TG 2014 – I’ve been off to visit Mom while I could, which was great, but I did miss our big cooking events. So, here we had a good one. E wanted to have one of our sorta-famous meals, but then D texted from the Bowl about finding several birds – duck, goose, and pheasant – and wondered if he should get one. I said ask E b/c she was the one who wanted one of our more traditional dinners, but E (apparently) said sure, so he bought the pheasant and then we had to figure out something to do with it. That was Friday. Then Saturday we discovered that Kermit Lynch’s Beaujolais Nouveau was really good this year, so we decided to have that and had to figure out what to do with the pheasant that would work with a Nouveau. Not really a problem 🙂
On Sunday, R&E came over before dinner and we pulled out computers and Gourmets and La Cucina Italiana (Cucinae?) and pored over them. E found pheasant recipes, and we chose this one from “marxfood.com” which has thyme-butter and bay leaves under the skin, and bacon all over the top to keep it moist. It worked great! D&I went bay leaf “shopping”on our walk in the morning and got a couple of fresh, pliable leaves. I prepared the 2 Tbsp thyme early (D did some of the leaf-pulling) and remembered to take out the butter and defrost five half-strips of bacon.
E was not satisfied with this and got some of theirs, too, and really covered up that critter! She did the final butter-mooshing after I had tucked it in, and also trussed the pheasant and got it entirely ready to roast. At the end, a port/redcurrant jelly gravy was made with the small amount of juices, plus a bit of stock. The gravy was outstanding. I missed getting a shot of D’s platter of cut pheasant, which he decorated with the bay leaves.
D took over the “appetizer” recipe, which turned out to be our only sorta-veggie (it was fruit) b/c we forgot to cook the filet beans/haricots. It was quite a production, involving boiling pears in red wine (used some undrinkable-but-cookable from an old bottle or two) and slicing boiled and unboiled/uncooked ones. The bizarre bit was a garish purple goop made from cooked
borlotti beans and red cabbage that went on top. Also, raspberries – which I had to run all the way to Safeway across town (only stores open were Safeways) to get b/c the ones from Monday, unsurprisingly, had gotten icky – dotted around the edge with black stuff.
OMG this site has the entire Cucina issue and you can page through it! The recipe is on page 126.
I think D may have ended up also cooking the wild rice pilaf. Or E. Or a collaboration. It was more or less from Real Simple. They used at least white-capped pioppini, some hen-of-the-woods/miatake, cremini, and the foot of my eryngii mushroom from the 18th.
We had a bit of the aforementioned Kermit Lynch Beaujolais before dinner, and finished it along with the meal, then also opened a bottle D brought up of Plavina, a 2013 Croatian “dry red wine” from The Wine Mine that I wrote “light, tasty red. grilled or roast chicken,” so I guess this was a good choice by D. I can’t say I really noticed this wine enough, as it was late and we were more involved in food and conversation by that time. We ended up pouring off the last 1/3 bottle for later use, so perhaps will check it out better then.
R chose a dessert from the Ottobre issue of Cucina, to which recipe, for some reason, “issuu” opened when I googled it. So, you seem to add slash-page# and there you are. Here is the cake-like thing, on page 90 of the issue (though my notes say p. 88, for some reason – I think I didn’t look it up but it was read to me).
I was full and left about 1/5 of mine for morning. Plus, R left us two unbaked ones that we can cook and eat soon. They are basically chocolate and praline. Super good, super sweet! We had a tiny bit of espresso with them, though it was rather late for caffeine.
Well, instead of “cooking wine,” R&E offered to supply us with the St. Augustine distillery’s version of gin & tonics, and they were spicy and really neat. Then they brought over the last of their cider (I think this is the one that did the exploding-bottle trick awhile back) and just before dinner was ready we opened the Beaujolais and had that for cooking wine, and most of dinner.
Almost an afterthought for such a blog entry, but we had grilled cheese sandwiches – Prima Donna on Morell’s Country Batard – and Romano beans. Lovely lunch 🙂