The Beauty of Butchery
Something that occurs naturally to chefs (and probably doesn’t often cross the mind of everyone else) is butchery. Maybe not going so far as to render down a live animal into the beautiful little prepackaged segments you’d find in your local grocer’s meat department, but slicing up a whole chicken or a side of a beef is a surety.
The wonderful thing about this (the big secret, if you will) is that you can actually save a good bit of money doing this. It’s not really hard to do - all you need is a nice knife (the sharper the better!) and the will to learn. Practice makes perfect, of course, and if you’re able to devote a bit more time, you too can get in on the secret.
Whenever I’m cooking up some chicken at home, be it soup, sautéed chicken breasts or something as fancy as the Duxelle Stuffed Pheasant Breast (well, I guess I’d be cooking pheasant then, but… whatever), I just grab whole chickens and cut them up into the pieces I need. Then I can have choice – I could do full breasts, split ones, cook off the tenderloins for whatever, and maybe stuff the legs into a jambonette. That, and you get that wonderful carcass that you can toss into a pot with a few pieces of celery, carrot and onion and c’est voila! You’ve got your own, delicious, homemade chicken stock. Use it with that chicken meat you just cut up and you’ve got the best damn chicken soup ever.
That’s not even beginning to talk about what you can save by buying full loins or strips of beef from a Costco or Sam’s – learn how to trim and cut ‘em up, and you can do a big ol’ steak barbecue on the cheap. All in all, butchery is one of those things that can bring you a lot of joy, if you just devote some time to learning it.
- Chef Savage
Roasted Breast of Pheasant
Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelle with Raspberry Demi
Yield: 6 portions
3 each whole Pheasants
2 tablespoons shallots (diced)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons raspberries preserves
1 cup demi-glace
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Demi-Glace: Place shallots, raspberries, preserves and wine in a saucepot and reduce by half. Add the demi-glace and reduce again by half. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Stuffing & Cooking: Trim the extra fat off of the breast and butterfly with a boning knife (the half of the breast that is opposite the wing bone). Place about 4 ozs. of the duxelle on the breast, skin side down. Roll the breast around the stuffing; try to seal the stuffing in. Place the stuffed breast, crease side down, on a roasting pan and bake in a 400° oven, with the wing pointing upward, for approximately 10 minutes.
To Serve: Cut in slices about 1/4" thick and serve in a fan with the sauce on the bottom.
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