Quick prep pheasant

WARNING - contains GRAPHIC pictures and descriptions of birds being cut up, which you may not like if you are squeamish about these things. It is dedicated to all the people who arrive at this blog looking advice on how to prepare a pheasant - it is unbelieveable how many of you there are!

Every so often in the season we get given a brace of these. Or sometimes we happen upon a not-too-squished roadkill bird. When we first started out with pheasant which did not come handily prepared,
we plucked and gutted them (a joyless task). But actually, the best bits are the breasts and legs - the rest is quite scrawny and barely worth saving. This fine pair were hanging for about ten days in our cold stone shed, and smelled quite gamey, though they were in good condition. (Don't be put off by the smell, it's deceptively honky). So this is a quick, easy, clean way of butchering your bird - use as sharp a knife as you can get, and be careful with it.
First get a black bin liner to work in, else the feathers get everywhere. Lay the bird on its back, and pluck the chest feathers off to expose the skin.

The skin is like a little jacket which holds everything in - what you need to do is gently make a shallow incision from the base of the throat down to the bottom, taking care not to dig into the flesh - you are only cutting the skin, so that you can peel it back. It will come away quite easily. Avoid opening up the crop (which often has the remains of the last meal inside) situated like a little sac near the base of the neck.

When you have exposed the breasts, it will look more familar, like your Sunday roast. All you need do now is cut each one away from the bone.

Then move on to the legs, taking care not to piece any innards.

It takes about 15 minutes to do both birds, and if you have done it in a sack, you can tidy up easily. You are left with a good selection of bits, which just need trimming.

Remove excess feathers, and if you like, singe the fine bits off over a tea light. Wash it all under a cold tap and then use as required. See also -


Kim said...

That's a lovely recipe, I'm going to give it a go, as pheasant is one of our big favourites.

I usually prepare mine in a bin bag, but my butcher told me that he used to go into the woods and do it, leaving the feathers and mess behind, and it was always gone in a few days!

Kim x

Lorna said...

Brave Andy!

Eliane said...

You don't know how useful this entry is. My first brace of this year was left on my door the other day, and I've completely forgotten what to do. I shall be following your instructions carefully!

Anonymous said...

Eww! Rather you than me ;)

Acornmoon said...

I hope you kept the feathers to draw, they are so pretty.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Very helpful.

Gail said...

It's interesting to see how it's all done, and if one day we actually get 'presented' with a brace of pheasants I will know where to look for instruction (or I'll know where my other half should look for instructions for this part of the job ;-) )
-Gail X

Unknown said...

Bring back the cute felted toys and beautiful pictures ;-) ... how brave you are - I've always left these kinds of things for the boys to do.

Gretel said...

Dear 'Anonymous' - I am assuming you are a vegetarian or vegan, or your comment would be a little hypocritical - I'm a meat eater and I take responsibility for where my meat comes from.

1) If you don't like it, you didn't have to look at it. There is a great big warning at the top of the post. No one forced you to look.

2) The birds (if you had bothered to read the actual post, instead of just reacting rather hysterically to the pictures) were discarded by the shoot they came from. I personally don't like organised shooting, but it is a fact of life round here, and these birds would have gone into a pit and been buried. At least they served some useful purpose.

3) This is my blog, and I will post whatever I like here; many people find this kind of post helpful; you don't have to read it, and if you are going to post such silly comments, I will simply delete you.

4) It is not clear whether you object to the eating of birds or the cutting up of them. I get tired of the squeamishness of people who are happy to by nicely prepared meat in the shops and then go faint when they see the reality of the source.

5) You obviously have strong views on this; if you really had the courage of your convictions, it would have been braver to leave your name, rather than cowering under the ubiquitous 'Anonymous'

Eliane said...

I see what you mean about Anonymous. Is the problem that the birds are dead or that you're going to eat them? My birds were also leftover from the shoot and I'd rather they were eaten than discarded. And as we know the "poor birds" wouldn't in fact exist at all if they weren't bred for shooting. Actually if you want a laugh, check out this post on Musings from Stonehead: Can't you have pork without killing the pigs? Jaw hit floor.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Bravo! Everyone should know where their food comes from and how it is prepared.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.