**Warning: this section is about pheasant butchery, however - I don’t go into any gory detail at all so it should be okay to read, even if you are a bit squeamish**
There is a disparity between the demand to shoot pheasant and the demand to eat it; making it an excellent choice for conscientious meat-eaters who wish to consume meat in a more sustainable manner.
When presented with two pheasants in their entirety (shot by my Uncle the day before), I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to do with them. Some people choose to hang the pheasants up for a few days before cooking to develop the gamey flavour, however, I find game to be quite a strong flavour to begin with and so decided to get to work straight away.
The first task was to rid them of all the inedible bits. I have a background in Bushcraft education and so this was not as daunting a prospect to me as it was to my partner Chris who was helping me with this endeavour. I watched a Youtube clip and quickly established that a pheasant can be treated in much the same way as a rabbit (more familiar territory for me); it doesn’t need to be plucked and can be skinned as a whole. I will leave out the gory detail here but if you do want to know how you would do this - just get in touch and I am happy to share.
Once the pheasants were all cleaned up, it was time to start preparing them for cooking - I opted to simply baste with some butter, wrap with bacon and roast them. When it came to carving up the pheasant - one of them was definitely in a better state than the other (quite common in birds that have been shot), but both were certainly edible. I served the pheasant with roast potatoes, parsnips and a North East Scotland speciality - skirlie. One day, skirlie will get its own article in my newsletter - it deserves it. I also made a red wine sauce using the juices that came out of the pheasant and to be honest - this was my favourite part.
Overall; I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the pheasant, both in the cooking and the eating - an interesting afternoon with the satisfaction of cooking something right from the start. You won’t catch me on a hunt anytime soon though..