Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Weekend, Another Pheasant and Another Pheasant Recipe

4:30 PM Sunday

Our friend Rich went out hunting again and came back with another pheasant. This time he wanted to make soup. The pheasant itself had a lot of very visible fat on its body; Rich commented he'd never seen one with so much fat on it. Still, it is a wild bird, so it was expected to be a bit on the dry side. He cleaned the bird and I started in on the vegetables. Unfortunately, it took about 3 hours to get the bird to the point I could take the meat from the bones, so we had leftovers for dinner last evening. I let the soup cool and saved it for today. Rich wanted to serve the soup with egg noodles. All this made me reminisce a bit about going to my Grandma's house when I was young, smelling her soup cooking away on the stove, the scent of saffron in the air. Saffron comes from the Crocus sativa flower; the 3 tiny stigma of each flower are removed to dry and the flower is discarded. Saffron gives beautiful golden color to soups and pastries and a most wonderful flavor. Cooking with saffron is something I grew up around, so of course, I added saffron to the soup! 

Rich is also a big fan of pumpkin pies. Since I have had frozen portions of pureed pumpkin and squash in the freezer, along with portions of pie dough, it is a pretty simple matter to get a pie together in no time. I like freezing pie dough. I really do not like making it with all the mess it entails, but my Never Fail Pie Crust recipe makes enough for four 9-inch single crust pies or two 9-inch double crust pies. This means I can freeze portions for later, allowing them to thaw on the counter for an hour or so when needed. I made a Pumpkin Pie recipe last year for Thanksgiving, so I used that recipe last week when making a pie. As I tasted it, I felt it needed more spices than it had, even though I followed my own recipe. Rich was of the same mind about it, so I amended the recipe and we will be testing out the flavors after dinner this evening. Rich and my husband had been out and about for a while today and when they got back, the pie was fresh out of the oven. Rich came in and said we just couldn't ask for a better Fall meal than Pheasant and Wild Rice Vegetable Noodle Soup and Spicier Pumpkin Pie!  

Spicier Pumpkin Pie

Spicier Pumpkin Pie 

Makes one 9½-inch pie

1 single-crust 10-inch unbaked pie shell
2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
2 cups whipping cream (can substitute evaporated milk)
1 cup white sugar
¾ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons ground cassia cinnamon  
3 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons Brandy or Cognac, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using convection). With a whisk, hand held mixer or stand mixer, mix together all the ingredients until combined. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake for about 1 hour and 5 to 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

8:30 PM Sunday

Pheasant and Wild Rice Vegetable Soup
Dinner was just delightful. The Pheasant and Wild Rice Vegetable Soup was full of earthy flavors and wonderful textures. We served it over wide egg noodles. I had made my Multi Grain and Seed Bread earlier in the day and I served that alongside for another great texture to add to the mix. The Pumpkin Pie was revised from what I have posted on my website and I will be amending that a bit later. I nearly doubled the spice quantities. Keep in mind, the pie was made in a 9 1/2 inch deep pie plate and the filling is ample. It tasted much better this time around, so that is my new go to recipe. Meanwhile, here is my Pheasant Soup recipe, which will serve a lot of people or be a meal for days: 

Pheasant and Wild Rice Vegetable Soup

Pheasant and Wild Rice Vegetable Soup, served
1 pheasant, cleaned and drawn
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions,coarsely chopped
3 carrots, sliced in rounds
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large potato, cut in small cubes

2 bay leaves
2 - 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
3 - 4 teaspoons salt (start with the smaller amount)
few grinds pepper
pinch of saffron, crumbled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
9 cups water
1 cup wild rice
cooked egg noodles, for serving 

Set the dried mushrooms into the boiled water, cover and set aside to soak. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add in the onions, stirring occasionally while prepping the other vegetables. Add in the carrots, celery and garlic and continue to stir occasionally. Add in the whole bird, allowing to brown on each side. Add in the green pepper and potato, the bay leaves, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper saffron and smoked paprika. Add in the 9 cups of water, stir and bring to a simmer.

Remove the mushrooms from their soaking water, reserving the water. Cut stems from the shiitakes and slice. Check the porcinis for any that are too hard and woody, shopping any larger pieces. Add both kinds of mushrooms to the pot. Check the mushroom soaking water for dirt or grit in the bottom. If there is any dirt, strain the liquid through a coffee filter or paper toweling and add to the pot. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 3 hours, or until the pheasant is ready to freely come off the carcass. Remove the pheasant from the soup and allow to cool enough to handle. Meanwhile add the wild rice to the pot and bring to a medium simmer for at least 45 minutes. Once the pheasant is cool enough to handle, remove all the meat and discard the bones. Return the meat to the pot. Once the wild rice is completely tender the soup is ready to serve. This soup is wonderful served over egg noodles.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.