Pheasant as Cooked by the Vintner’s Wife

Fácán Vincelérne Módra


  • 6 very young pheasants, 1 to 1½ pounds each
  • 1 pound cured-cooked meaty bacon (Kaiser Fleisch)
  • Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • ¼ pound butter
  • About 30 perfect grape leaves, washed
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 10 tarragon leaves
  • 3 pounds white seedless grapes
  • ½ bottle red Burgundy-type wine
  • Cream Sauce
  • Liver Purée
  • Croutons
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon currant jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Clean, wash, and dry the pheasants.
  2. Cut half of the bacon into little sticks and use to lard the pheasants. Salt the birds inside and outside and rub the cloves and marjoram in the cavity.
  3. Spread the butter in an ample-sized roasting pan, and line it with half of the grape leaves. Place the pheasants on their breasts in the pan.
  4. Meantime chop the rest of the bacon. Fry it, and pour bacon bits and fat over the pheasants.
  5. Sprinkle the bay leaf, lemon rind, peppercorns and tarragon around the birds. Cover top with the rest of the grape leaves.
  6. Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and roast the birds for 40 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Remove the top layer of grape leaves. Pull half of the grapes from the stems and add to the pheasants; leave the rest of the grapes in little bunches or clusters. Return pan to oven and brown the birds at 475°F. for 5 minutes.
  8. Set roasting pan on top of the stove, add half of the red wine, and baste pheasants for 5 minutes.
  9. Meantime, prepare the cream sauce, liver purée and croutons.
  10. Add brandy to the ready pheasants, and ignite. When flames die out, remove the pheasants from the pan.
  11. Add to juices remaining in the pan the currant jam, remaining wine and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil. When the sauce reaches a gravy thickness, strain it and skim off fat. Put it aside and keep warm.
  12. Cut off legs and breasts of pheasants and place on a serving platter. Decorate with little bunches of remaining grapes. Pour the gravy over the grapes.
  13. Spread warm liver purée on warm croutons. Serve the croutons separately to accompany the pheasant. (This is different from the French style of service, in which the croutons would be placed underneath the birds.)
  14. Serve Vintner’s Rice or a pile of straw potatoes with this dish.