Ingredients

  • 1 pheasant
  • ½ lb pork fat
  • ¼ lb butter
  • 3–4 rusks

Method

Hang a pheasant for 5–8 days before plucking it. After plucking, cut off the head and set it aside. Using a lighted paper, singe off all the down and, while the flesh is warm from the flame, rub the entire pheasant briskly with a piece of pork suet or with butter wrapped in an old cloth to remove the roots of the down and the pin feathers. Lard the breast with pork fat and cook in butter in a stewpan, basting constantly with hot fat diluted with 2–3 spoons boiling water and smearing the breast with sour cream. For juicy flesh, prick the bird with a fork to allow the fat to penetrate the meat. The liver and other giblets are not used in this recipe. When the pheasant is cooked, baste once more with butter and sprinkle with rusk crumbs. Keep it over a low fire so that the crumbs will bake. Arrange on a platter and mount the head with its feathers on a short stick. Attach this to the neck. Decorate [the neck] with a paper ruff and attach the tail feathers to the roast. Transfer to a serving dish and pour on the pan juices.

Or roast the pheasant on a spit, after larding it with ¼ lb of pork fat. Wrap it in an additional ¼ lb of sliced pork fat and then in buttered paper. Cook at first over a high flame, then over a low one, basting with butter. When done, strew with rusk crumbs and serve with salad.

*This recipe, and particularly the presentation, is reminiscent of the medieval ceremonial presentation of a peacock in full plumage.

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