Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pleasant pheasant and apple meatballs

Pheasant meatballs. Perfect partners with free-range eggs
and a good hollandaise sauce.
Pheasants are so lean and mean that even Mr Farmer says they can be tough (and everyone at Fiveacres will tell you that Mr Farmer is pretty tough himself). But there is a softer side to everyone - even Mr Farmer. Serve these tender, flavorsome pheasant meatballs on mash or fresh bread, with green beans, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.

If you are all out of pheasant, just use a small whole chicken.

Pheasant and Apple Meatballs

1 small onion
2 T butter
half a pheasant, roasted*
3/4 apple, cored but not peeled**
1 rasher shoulder bacon, rind removed but fat*** intact
100 g fresh bread
1/2 t salt

Put the onion through the mincer, or (if you don't have a mincer) chop finely. Melt butter in a pan and gently fry the onion until translucent but not brown.
Put the pheasant meat, apple, and bacon through the mincer. Put the bread through the mincer last, to clean it out. If you don't have a mincer, finely chop the pheasant and bacon, grate the apple, and make the fresh bread into breadcrumbs.
Mix cooked onion, pheasant meat, apple, bacon, bread and salt. Wet your hands with cold water****, and shape into walnut-sized balls.
Bake in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 20 minutes, or until just golden brown on the outside. We like to use a Maxwell Williams Microstoven quiche dish - non-stick cookware to which superglue would not adhere.

Enjoy - on a salad, or (our favorite) with a fresh poached egg, hollandaise sauce, green beans and Mr Farmer's top-secret potato mash. If Mr Farmer won't share his mash recipe (we did ask, and he says he  won't), use toasted fresh bread.

*when roasting your pheasant, pour some cider and white wine in the bottom of the pan, and stuff the pheasant with a cored, quartered, un-peeled apple
**use the apple that was used to stuff the pheasant - usually this is only half an apple in total (we challenge you to fit more into your pheasant), so you'll need an additional quarter. We like Pacific Rose or Braeburn, but any sweet apple will do.
***some of us at Fiveacres don't usually like fat, but pheasant is so lean that it needs the fat for tenderness and flavor. Bacon fat is perfect, as it doesn't have an overpowering flavor or texture.
****this helps to keep the meatball mix from sticking to your hands. Really.

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