Whenever I see or hear the word pheasant, a Pavlov’s Dog type reaction occurs in my brain, and this exchange goes through my mind:

Actor 1: “My father hath a pheasant.”

Actor 2: “Hath he?”

Actor 1: “Pheasant he hath.”

Actor 2: “Hath he feathers?”

Actor 1: “Yeth.”

This was a pre-show warm-up exercise for the actors in my friend Jan Moran Neil‘s play Blackberry Promises many moons ago.  Why on EARTH I agreed to be in it I will never know.  Going on stage with a knife in my hand playing drunken fish and chip shop owner Zelda Mabs is not something I will forget in a hurry.  I will never, ever tread the boards again.  Too scary.

I have many happy memories of the stuff around the going on stage bit though, and it is weird how things like the pheasant tongue-twister stick in your head.  I quite often say one of Jan’s lines to myself when hunting high and low for something in my flat: “Where’s my bag?” and often, for no apparent reason I will say out loud to Mr Rathbone, “Oh that bloody grocer!” which makes him laugh even though he wasn’t around to hear it the first time.

But back to the pheasant.  First a disclaimer.  This is not a recipe that has a direct link to Ian Buchanan, unfortunately, I cannot find a favourite recipe of his anywhere, but this recipe was one I was hoping would be appropriate for the Columbo cookbook.  Ian plays a Hugh Heffner type in the Columbo Cries Wolf episode and I’m scouting around for an appropriate recipe.  I got myself a copy of this wonderful cookbook:

and thought that Pheasant Stewed in Champagne sounded like just the kind of thing Ian’s character Sean Brantly would order in a swanky Los Angeles eaterie so I tried it out.

There’s a swanky newish butcher near me in Tufnell Park

so I swung by there, and I must say that the young tattooed bucks that work in there are very pleasing on the eye.  I had quite a long chat about the pheasants and kidneys (they are the Marmite of the butchery world, neither of the lovely boys liked them, but I do).  I got myself two pheasants which they kindly jointed for me, and a couple of kidneys which they prepared for me too – bonus!

The pheasants looked lovely and fresh…

and it was fun setting fire to them…

It was fun making the dumplings too…

…but the trouble with a recipe that calls for a cup of champagne and you are home alone is that OBVIOUSLY the rest of the bottle will get drunk…

but it’s a bit risky when you are preparing two kilos of vegetables for piccalilli as the pheasant cooks…

The pheasant was DELICIOUS.  Really, really tasty.  But, there’s a proviso.  What goes on with dumplings?  Does anyone really like dumplings?  

This might be the recipe I put in the book for the Ian Buchanan episode – unless anyone knows him and could ask him for a favourite recipe?  Perhaps you could give him a call for me?

However, there is another recipe that uses champagne in the Playboy’s Wine and Spirits Cookbook.  A French onion soup laced with lashings of champers…

Hmm, I feel another session with the Diana Dors Godwin champagne perry glasses coming on…   

Perhaps this time I will share…

Happy birthday for tomorrow Diana!

Oh, and just one more thing, here’s a photo Mr R sent me of a piece of pie that we made with the leftovers to a Diana Henry recipe.  I just kept all the pheasanty bits, got rid of the dumplings and made a delicious pheasant pie with a creamy sauce and leeks to the recipe for Bird Pie in Diana’s A Bird in Hand.  Mmmm….  It was divine.


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