Dahl · Danny the Champion of the World

Dad’s Roasted Pheasant with Breadsauce

IMG_5074

Author: Dahl, Roald
Book: Danny the Champion of the World
Difficulty rating: Little Women
Deliciousness rating: Exceeds Expectations

Part of Dad’s Roasted Pheasant Supper

“And don’t forget, Danny, before we put the bird in the oven, we have to lay strips of fat bacon across the breast to keep it nice and juicy. And breadsauce too. We shall have to make breadsauce. You must never have roasted pheasant without breadsauce.” (Dahl 158-160)

We couldn’t help but pursue the dream of roasted pheasant when everyone in Danny’s town seemed to be obsessed with catching one.

Luckily, Jenne’s dad visited a hunting club north of Sacramento, where he shot his own pheasant and brought it home for us to try!

Did it measure up?

Yep, roasted pheasant is pretty delicious. I mean, it’s wild poultry wrapped in bacon fat — how can you go wrong? I had never seen a pheasant before, and I was surprised that ours was smaller than a typical roasting chicken. Unlike chicken, the breast is pretty much the only edible part, unless you really enjoy chewing sinew. (This explains why all the roasted pheasant recipes I saw online specified “pheasant breast.”) I think, if given a choice, I would elect to roast a readily available chicken with lots of thigh and big fat drumsticks, but I greatly enjoyed the novelty of having wild game and the propriety of an awesome dad providing free-range pheasant for a Danny the Champion of the World-themed occasion.

The bread sauce tasted especially good this time — we are officially fans. We added thyme to this batch, and this little change elevated the bread sauce from pretty good to great.

Pheasant
Their feet remind me of dinosaurs.

ROASTED PHEASANT

Ingredients:

  • 1 pheasant
  • Bacon fat
  • 4-5 rashers of bacon
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Rinse the pheasant and make sure all feathers are off.

    IMG_5051
    Make sure to get the birdshot out if you didn’t get your pheasant from a butcher — they’ll break your teeth if you bite down too hard!
  3. Rub the pheasant all over with bacon fat and massage it in a bit.IMG_8816
  4. Sprinkle with a little salt, a lot of pepper, and a few sprigs’ worth of fresh thyme.IMG_5057
  5. Wrap the bacon over all of it to prevent the meat from drying out and secure with string.Pheasant Ready
  6. Roast for 25 –35 minutes, depending on the size of your bird.
  7. Remove the pheasant from the oven and rest the bird breast side down (to catch the juices), setting the bacon to the side.IMG_5079

BREAD SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2.5 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 whole small onions
  • 8 little clove sprigs
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • 3 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 tbs cream

Directions:

  1. Peel the onions and stick it with cloves.IMG_8818
  2. Put all the ingredients except the cream in a small, deep saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and gently simmer over very low heat for 30 mins. Remove the onion and add cream just before serving.IMG_5064

Dahl, Roald. Danny the Champion of the World. Illus. Jill Bennet. New York: Puffin Books, 1975.

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