Friday, 1 February 2008

Town vs country

Yesterday I bought a pheasant. It cost £5 which isn't bad if you compare the cost with a free-range chicken but I hesitated because it feels to me like a luxury ingredient.

That's very much an urban point of view. If I was living in a country village then I might well have been able to get a brace for that price or, indeed have traded something I'd grown or produced for a free bird from a neighbour. Game is cheap in the country. If I was thinking of making a curry on the other hand I would probably pay far more for my ingredients than I would in a large city. So you can't be absolute about which ingredients are cheap.

Anyway, I pot roasted the pheasant for about an hour and a half with some root veg spiced with sweet smoked pimenton and a pinch of cinnamon, a small (about 50ml) glass of leftover Christmas port, a similar glass of white wine and some stock. After it had been cooking for an hour I removed the lid for the remaining cooking time to brown the bird. While the pheasant rested I skimmed the fat off the pan juices (tiresome but well worth doing). We ate the two breasts with the roast veg and stir fried sprouts and Jerusalem artichokes which I'd first boiled and then peeled (easier that way round than peeling them first). The veg by the way cost £1.78.

The legs and remaining meat on the carcass will make a pilaf for tonight. The carcass can be used for stock for a soup. The leftover veg can be fried up bubble and squeak-style with some cold ham or other cold meat. With a few modest additions we should get three more meals for our £7 outlay.

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