Hogs....down in the bog!

Hogs....down in the bog!

March 16, 2011


This past weekend Josh was at a pheasant hunt, which brought back memories of my last encounter with a pheasant.....

I like to think that I am a pretty good cook. I mean, I can make Martha Stewart’s macaroni and cheese from scratch using all the fancy cheeses that I can’t even pronounce. To me, mastering one of Martha’s recipes is a major life accomplishment. I wouldn’t say that I make the fanciest meals, Josh is rather picky, but I have added my own touch to many well known dinners. In fact, earlier that month we had made pumpkin waffles in my fancy new Williams-Sonoma mini waffle pan. Delicious.

The pheasants had been harvested when we were at Martz’s pheasant hunt back in the spring, and they had been sitting in the freezer since then. I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t getting sick of seeing them there. Josh was away at the cabin for Buck Hawk Week (the boy’s annual trek to the cabin for a week of Mohawks, hunting, and whatever else boy's do at hunting camps) and I was feeling brave. I knew that Josh would be home briefly on Wednesday night for dinner, so that seemed like the perfect time to roast up a pheasant. I had never made pheasant before, but I had made roast chicken so I figured I could handle it. I got out my game cookbook and selected a delicious looking apple and cinnamon roasted pheasant recipe. I took the pheasant out of the freezer and let it thaw out. The next morning I placed it in the fridge to stay cool until I got home from work. According to my recipe, the pheasant should only take 30-45 minutes to cook. I went to my friend Courtney’s after work to visit her and her baby, and as I was sitting there talking to her I began to panic. I hadn’t taken the pheasant out of it’s bag so I was assuming that it was ready to be cooked. I mean I knew that it had been plucked and cleaned at Martz’s, so they had taken the insides out….right? I raced home from Courtney’s and grabbed the pheasant out of the freezer.

It was clean all right, except for about a million teeny-tiny hairs sticking out of random points on its carcass. How in the world was I supposed to get these out? I sat there picking them one-by-one, cursing myself for ever deciding to cook this silly bird. I flipped the bird around trying to see if it still had organs, but I couldn’t see up the cavity. In a panic I called my friend, Stephanie, for her advice. Her family had hunted for years, so I figured she would know what to do. She didn’t, but she did call her mom.

“Well honey, just stick your hand up there and see.”
“I am NOT sticking my hand up this bird! That’s gross!”
“I’m pretty sure that they would have taken all of that out.”
“Well I’m not going to take any chances. Hold on I found a butcher knife. I’ll just stick this up there.”

I delicately shoved the butcher knife into the cavity and wiggled it around. It didn’t meet any resistance and it came out clean, so I figured I was safe. I gathered the apples and stuffed it, basted it, and placed it in the oven. Feeling proud of myself for cooking a delicious dinner for my fiancĂ©, I roasted potatoes and sautĂ©ed peas. Josh walked through the door just as I was lifting the bird out of the oven. Its skin had a delicious, crispy, golden color to it. The aroma wafting through the house was mouth-watering. I proudly handed Josh the carving set.

The bird disappeared into dust. Poof. Gone.

Well not exactly, but if any of you have seen A Christmas Story, that is how I felt. There was nothing on it! No breast meat, nothing. All I had to feed my family were two drumsticks and two wings. Not quite a bounty of meat.

“I don’t know what happened?! I cooked it exactly the way the recipe told me to! I’ve
never ruined dinner before!”
“You didn’t ruin dinner. I’m sure it is delicious, I mean, it smells good. It just doesn’t
have any meat on it. That’s not your fault.”

I stormed into the garage to our large freezer and yanked two frozen pizzas out. Cursing the pheasant I reheated the oven and tossed the bird into the trash.
...Josh has returned again this year with more of these birds, and I am once again feeling inspired to cook with them. Apparently I did not learn my lesson the first time. I'll be trying out a recipe next week, so stay tuned!

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