Following a few questions and comments on social media, I have decided to make this months featured recipe, something that I made recently.
When I was offered some freshly caught pheasant, I could not turn it down, but the question was what to do with it.
I am a big fan of a gently roasted bird, covered in bacon to help keep it moist, however the roasting of a pheasant is really best done with a young bird and with its skin still on.
So what to do with this skinned bird, that may be a little dry if roasted?
Anyone that follows me here or on social media will know that I am also a lover of Italian cooking and especially pasta. So with a new pasta machine yet to try out, what else could be more ideal than a ragu.
A ragu for pasta can be made with any type of meat and the rich flavour of pheasant is no exception.
For the Ragu you will need:–
1 Pheasant – Skinned
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
4 rashers of streaky bacon
150ml White Wine
250ml Chicken Stock
2 sprigs of fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tablespoon off plain flour
Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Gently heat the olive oil in a casserole dish, and add the onion, garlic (Crushed whole cloves) and bacon. Cook gently until the onions have softened and the bacon cooked.
Remove everything from the dish and place in a bowl.
Brown the bird in the casserole dish, then add back in the onions, garlic and bacon.
Add a tablespoon of plain flour and stir.
Turn up the heat and add in the white wine, allow it to bubble away for a min to burn off the alcohol and then add the chicken stock.
Add in Salt, Pepper and the thyme – once it’s upto heat, turn heat down to a gentle simmer – place a lid on the dish and allow to simmer away for an hour or until the meat is starting to fall off the bones.
(While this is cooking you can make the pasta as below)
When the meat is falling off the bones, remove the bird from the liquid and allow to cool on a plate. When it is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to ensure all the meat is peeled off the bones.
Take the sauce that is still in the pan, and using a hand blender, blend the onions, garlic and bacon until its a smooth consistency (Or to your liking).
Add the meat back into the pot and continue to heat until a thick ragu, adding the juice from half a lemon and extra pepper to taste.
Method For Pasta
I like to make fresh pasta to mix with a Ragu and I use a very simple recipe that I first saw in a book from Carmela Sereno Hayes which uses for each person (Simply times it by the number of people you are cooking for)
100g Tipo 00 Flour
1 Large Egg
Pinch of Salt
Make the flour into a well, add a little salt and crack egg into the well.
Mix the flour and egg together until it creates a dough (Texture of play dough)
Kneed the dough for 7-10 mins, until smooth and easy to work, whilst not sticky. If you press a finger into the dough, it should start to bounce back.
Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30mins
Remove the dough and pass through a pasta machine on the widest setting – fold the dough and repeat this step 7-8 times.
Decrease the width setting on the machine one at a time, passing the dough through. If it feels like it may stick, simpy sprinkle with some extra flour before feeding through the machine.
If the sheets are getting too long, you can cut them in half and pass it through in sections.
When its to your desired thickness (I use setting 7 on my machine), use the cutting tool to cut into ribbons.
Place on a drying rack (I used my oven handles) and leave while the Ragu is still simmering.
When the Ragu is ready, place the paste into some boiling water that is salted and cook for no more than 2 mins.
Add pasta to the Ragu and toss it evenly over.
Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and cheese.