Phesant for Four

The pond in February is a haven for ducks, geese, a few blue herons and the same 2 swans that draw my attention every time I walk the dog. Today could have been a scene from Dark shadows, a fog hung heavy over the East End. For the first time in a month I came across a deer crossing the 13th fairway, it watched me and then caught wind of the dog. Bounding left to right, white tail in full display it was gone in an instant.

A new chef position has come into view, in the end of January I heard that the new Bridgehampton Golf club “The Bridge” has been searching for a sous chef. The idea of following someone else’s lead was interesting to me so I followed up. After attempting direct contact to no avail I called my friend Marvin Shanken, a member of  The Bridge and he opened the door. A few weeks later in mid February I was invited to meet with the clubs General manager Roger. That interview lead to a meeting with the owner Bob Rubin and his wife Stephane which lead to a test luncheon prepared with the executive chef Estelle at Rubin’s home in Watermill.

This recipe was taught to me by Estelle, an attractive, well traveled French woman who opened the kitchen at The Bridge last year for the first season. Our introduction started the day before the lunch at The Little Kitchen. She had been flown up from Florida to meet me and supervise a meal, allowing her to get to know me and work with me in an informal setting.

Her menu included a watercress soup which was a simple puree of water cress, shallots, and a splash of cream, finished with a swirl of crème fraiche and a garnish of pepper cress from the Quail Hill green house. The main course was roasted pheasant stuffed with foie gras and truffles served with a cranberry puree and a toss of sautéed root vegetables from Quail Hills’ root cellar.

The pheasant recipe called for black truffles marinated in cognac for 48 hours with pepper corns and a pinch of salt. The pheasants were rinsed first then she placed a few sprigs of thyme in each pheasant cavity followed by ¼ lobe of foie gras and a few table spoons of truffles. She then sewed the stuffed birds shut, rolled them for a few minutes in a hot oiled pan and placed them in a deep roasting pan. Important to note that prior to putting the lid on the pan she prepared a simple batter of flour and water and rimmed the Roasting pan with it. The dish was roasted at 375 degrees for 1 hour. As it cooked the batter sealed the lid to hold in all essence.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2 pheasants (2.5 to 3lb. ea)
1 small lobe of foie gras
1 black perigord truffle sliced thin (marinate in cognac for 48 hours w/8 peppercorns )
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 cup flour
½ cup water salt & pepper to taste
1 cup grapeseed oil

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