I believe that really a lot of people like memories of the times when they were kids. In my case, I have been coming back to the old times, meaning when I was a child, since my daughter was born. I wrote quite a lot on this blog about my childhood which took place in the eighties, so I will not be repeating myself today.
Today's recipe was given years ago to my parents by their good friends: Teresa and Jan. They both died already a good few years ago. They never had kids. Teresa was a well known journalist in Krakow. Her husband, Jan was the author of many books about Kraków (like, for example: Kraków from A to Z).
The recipe below would have disappeared, completely forgotten, in one of my Mum's kitchen drawers, but I found it three years ago, and I copied it. Jan, except for being a well known person in Kraków, was as well an enthusiastic hunter. The inseparable member of this couple, which (as I mentioned) never had their own children, was a gundog named Igor. Jan used to always take Igor hunting with him.
Quite often, we had been invited to their summer house, close to Kraków. I loved their big wooden house, full of mysteries and secrets. And always we were served some delicious food there. I remember some venison dishes - meat which you could not find in regular shops in the eighties.
Teresa was a master in the preparation of hunter style dishes. It is quite a pity that probably most of her recipes disappeared over time. I still have a strong sentiment of tenderness for those people and the great time I always had at their place. I will always remember her as an older lady smoking cigarettes, and Jan – as a calm guy in glasses.
Pheasant à la Teresa
1 pheasant of around 1.2 – 1.4 kg or 2 small ones of 700 g
300 ml dry red wine
40 ml cognac
1 bunch chives, washed and finely chopped
2 table spoons goose grease
150 ml crème fraîche
2 table spoons Polish mustard, optionally Dijon mustard
100 g butter
200 g pork’s back fat, non salted, cut into strips of around 0.3 cm thick and 12 cm long
150 g chicken liver
Sautee the pheasant: Season the bird with salt and pepper. In a hot frying pan, melt goose grease and roast the bird on all sides for around 5 minutes. Then pour cognac onto the bird, light with a lighter and flambé.
Bake the pheasant: Preheat the oven to 165 degrees. Place the bird in a baking pan, sprinkle with 150 ml of red wine, cover with strips of the pork’s fat and put into the oven. Bake at 165 degrees for between 1h15 minutes to 1h30 minutes. From time to time, check the meat and sprinkle it with its own juice, eventually with some more wine. Be careful, the juice should not evaporate.
Prepare chicken livers: In the meantime, chop the livers finely. In a hot frying pan, melt the butter and add livers. Keep them over low heat for around 10 minutes, until cooked. Put aside.
Finish the pheasant: Remove the pheasant from the oven, switch the oven off, place the pheasant on a cutting board and cut it into equal parts. Throw away the pork’s fat. Place in a saucepan, cover with aluminum foil and put into the warm oven (the oven must be switched off).
Finish the sauce: Remove the excess of grease from the baking pan, in which the bird was cooked and throw it away. Place the baking pan over the heat, add remaining wine and cook on a low flame for around 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. Add livers with butter, mustard and cream. Mix everything and cook for about 3 minutes. At the very end, add 2/3 of chives and mix. Cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce using a thin strainer; pour it into a sauce-boat. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Remove the meat from the oven. Serve immediately, most preferably with sautéed or mashed potatoes, Silesiandumplings, kopytka (little hooves) accompanied by lingonberry preserves, pickled pears, cranberry preserves, shredded beetroots and red cabbage – the recipe for traditional red cabbage will be presented in a following post.