Sunday, June 26, 2016

Seville Orange Stewed Pheasant Legs







     A Light Wild Game Bird Stew!
     Many people cannot believe that stew could be a nice light summer meal.  This is because stew has a reputation of being rich, thick and heavy on the tummy.  In tropical regions around the globe stew is served even on the hottest of days, because stew quickly replenishes the body with nutrients that are lost in extreme environmental conditions.
     Tropical stews and Mediterranean summer stews are usually not thickened.  Many tropical summer stews are flavored with acidic fruits that also help to tenderize the meat.  Such is the case with today's Colombian style Bitter Orange Pheasant Leg Stew.    
     Bitter fruits like Naranjilla (Lulo), Tamarillo, Lime or Seville Orange (Bitter Orange) will tenderize tough meat.  Pheasant legs are notoriously tough, because pheasant spend most of their time on their feet.  When stewed with bitter fruit, even pheasant legs turn out tender.
     Bitter fruits also add a very light refreshing flavor to a stew.  The vitamins from a bitter fruit, like Seville Orange, help the body to revitalize after a long day in the sun.  
     Chile Peppers are nearly always used to flavor tropical stews.  Hot Chile Peppers cause light perspiration, which creates a cooling effect.  Endorphins are also released when hot chile peppers are eaten.  The amount of hot chile peppers that are added to a stew is a matter of personal taste, but most guests prefer a comfortably spicy flavor.

     Seville Orange Stewed Pheasant Legs: 
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Because pheasant breast is a high demand item in fine dining restaurants, the legs sell for a very low price! 
     There are 2 ways to prepare this stew.  The pheasant legs can served whole, like in the photos above.  Serving stewed whole pheasant legs creates a classic rustic presentation.   Pheasant legs have many thick hard tendons, so you must warn the guests to be careful.
     The second method involves removing the pheasant legs from the stew when they are tender.  After the legs cool, the meat can be pulled off of the bones and tendons.  The boneless pheasant leg meat can be returned to the stew.    
     *About twenty minutes before the stew finishes simmering, cook 1 portion of plain brown rice.
     Step 1:  Trim some of the excess fat off of 2 pheasant legs.  (Save the fat for making pheasant leg confit!)
     Place the 2 pheasant legs in a small container.
     Add 1 cup of bitter orange juice.
     Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add just enough water to cover the pheasant legs.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of black peppercorns.
     Add 2 pinches of Kosher Salt.
     Marinate the pheasant legs in a refrigerator for 4 hours.
     Step 2:  Remove the pheasant legs from the marinade and set them aside.
     Pour the marinade through a strainer and set the marinade aside.
     Step 3:  Place 4 cloves of crushed garlic in a wide sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of large diced carrot.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of chopped tomato.
     Step 4:  Add the 2 marinated pheasant legs.
     Add the reserved strained marinade.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Step 5:  Place the sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the stew to a boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of cumin.
     Add 2 pinches of coriander.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 7:  Add 2 to 4 dried whole Chile Pequin.  (To taste.)
     *Chile Pequin are very tiny and they are very spicy hot.  Chile pequin are also called Bird Peppers.
     Step 8:  Gently simmer till the pheasant legs are tender.  Add water as necessary to keep the pheasant legs covered.
     Step 9:  Raise the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the stewing sauce is a medium thin consistency that easily clings to the pheasant legs.
     *There should be less sauce than pheasant and vegetables in the pot when the stew is finished.
     Step 10:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Skim any grease off of the top of the stew.
     Remove the bay leaf.

     Presentation:
     Place a ring of steamed plain brown rice around the border of a plate.
     Place the pheasant leg stew in the middle of the rice ring.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This healthy wild game bird stew is refreshing to eat on a hot summer day!

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