It may have been noted by regular readers of the blog that Mister North and I do like a bit of game, but I have to admit to being rather challenged when he got a pheasant recently from Stansfields of Todmorden. Thanks to a childhood experience of a pheasant that had been too well hung and gone into a whole new realm of gameyness, I have been dubious about eating this beautiful bird for years, but the suggestion of using the tin of foie gras or libamáj that Mister North picked up in Hungary as a sauce with it convinced me otherwise!
Neither of us had ever eaten foie gras before and while I’m aware of how it is made and that a lot of people find it incredibly cruel, I have to say that I have always wanted to try it at least without getting into a huge debate about the stuff, so being able to test it out at home with someone with a similar mind set was ideal, because more than anything, I was worried it would be too rich and I wouldn’t like it…
Having decided to cook two things I was dubious about, we decided to go for a hat trick and do everyone’s least favourite vegetable in the shape of sprouts on the side so that no one can accuse me of not being adventurous enough with food. But just so there would be something I definitely liked, we also did mini squash fondues and some hasselback potatoes with the last of the Shetland Blues.
We went for the now tried and tested way to roast a game bird, sealing it, wrapping it in bacon and then roasting it on a vegetable trivet with some water in the bottom of the pan to stop it drying out while in the oven, and then turned our attention to the foie gras sauce.
This is incredibly easy to make. Take your foie gras, add insane amounts of more animal fat, put in the merest hint of a shallot, warm through and serve with anything, even Charlie Chaplin’s old boot, to make it the most decadent, most delicious and most amazing meal you’ve ever eaten. It looks deceptively simple, but is exceptional in all ways. Its sweet richness complimented the gorgeously gamey flavour of the well hung and very succulent pheasant perfectly. Since our tin of foie gras was slightly over 50g, we had sampled the excess on an oatcake before dinner and while it was pleasant, it didn’t really wow me. But the sauce brought the flavours to the fore, marrying the hint of offal together with its soft sweetness in buttery soft beauty. I have never eaten another sauce so good…
All in all, it was a plate of utter joy. The pheasant was a revelation with its strong, but not overpowering flavour and generous portions from just one hen bird. The squash were as previously mentioned, amazing while we fought over the last sprout. It was the one of the best meals I have eaten in my life, made even better by the fact there were also leftovers!
Poor Mister North got the short straw having to return to snowy Yorkshire the next day while I tucked into a plate of leftovers so good they were better than most specially cooked dinners. The foie gras sauce turned an already magnificent baked Shetland Blue into a jacket potato so dazzling it might as well have been wearing couture.
I will definitely be feasting on pheasant again as soon as I can, but I haven’t decided about the foie gras. Undeniably extravagant, quite possibly cruel, extremely bad for you and very expensive, I can’t decide whether to have it this once and remember it fondly for life or abandon all morals and gorge myself on it at any opportunity. But either option gives me the chance to dream about this meal repeatedly!