When I was a singleton I had a couple of years of bliss living with two crazy women called Lucy and Gaby.  We rented a house together in Walthamstow, E17 and had an absolute hoot.  They are both highly entertaining and lovely women.

Yes, this was a hen night!

When I asked Lucy if she would test something for the Murder, She Cooked book there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about which one to do.  Suddenly she emailed this…

“I’ve found it: Jameson Parker’s Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie. I have 3 pheasants in the freezer and a raised veg bed full of leeks. This one has to be mine!”
 
For Lucy is now living in the countryside, and at that very moment I retitled our emails about the recipe “Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”
 
 
because nobody I know in London has three pheasants in the freezer and grows their own leeks.

Lucy’s leeks

Lucy’s Cock-a-Leekie

Here is Jameson’s original recipe

and here is Lucy’s fab report on her version of Darleen and Jameson’s dish.

Pheasants should be on the Coat of Arms for Oxfordshire, for up here in The Cotswolds these things are everywhere! Especially in hunting season.

We were given a few brace by our next door neighbour who acquired said birds from a farmer in the pub (he had 120 birds in the back of his car which he dished out to lucky, or unlucky, members of our village – depends which way you look at it).

Greg was trained by our neighbour in the art of removing the skin, feathers, and chopping the heads and legs off. I then gutted and cleaned them, checked for shot, and popped them in the freezer.

Having now eaten quite a few Pheasants, I’ve become rather adept at knowing how to cook and handle these potentially boney, bland, and lean birds. Cooked right. you can have a really delicious dish.

With this in mind I made what I think, some wise adjustments to the recipe…

3 pounds leeks (from my garden)
*6 rashers of bacon (streaky is best), lardons or pancetta
1 pheasant
2-1/2 quarts chicken stock ( I used 500ml asian chicken stock) **1 bottle of dry white wine
2 x handfuls of barley (I have small hands)
*100ml double cream
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

*Pheasant are very lean birds so the addition of bacon and cream is to add fat into the dish.

**Once the pheasant had defrosted I marinated it in the whole bottle of white wine overnight.

The following morning I browned the bacon and slightly caramelised the leeks before adding these to the pot, along with all the other ingredients, except the cream and parsley.  I simmered for 2 hours, removed the bones and adjusted the seasoning. I added the cream and parsley and returned to heat up.

Notes: 2-1/2 quarts is 1.5 litres. I only had 500ml chicken stock and 750ml wine so not nearly as much. The final consistency was a broth-like one, and would probably feed 6 people. I think if I’d have used 1/5 litres of liquid this recipe would be more like a runny soup and may serve 6 people rather than the 4 they recommend.

Test Eaters comments:

Greg: Really tasty, a touch too acidic so reduce the amount of wine next time. Thought you could remove the barley and have with pasta.

Lucy: A warming, tasty broth. Like Greg, I’d add less wine next time. There’s still 4 more pheasants in the freezer so I’ll be making more adaptions of Pheasant Cock-A Leekie in the near future!

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I say, “Get that woman a column in Outdoor Life Magazine!”

Lucy!  Can I come round for dinner with you and the Gregster and have your pimped up Pheasant Cock-A-Leekie sometime soon please?!  Meanwhile I will be getting hold of Simon & Simon on DVD.  I’d never heard of this before I did some research on Jameson Parker.  It ran for 8 seasons and sounds fab!  Described on IMDB as follows, “Two brothers of disparate tastes and manners run a private detective agency.”  Sounds right up my street!

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