A Feast in the Hall:

Today was a special day, not for any holiday, but because my sister came. I always try to prepare something delicious, as she loves good food and good wine, and might therefore come more often.

The First Course.

The Main Course.

This matters to the Hall because it gives me an opportunity to give especial thanks and praise to one of you who deserves it. The centerpiece of today's feast was provided by Mark, whose generous heart was moved by the fact that I was unable to eat the Christmas Duck we so long discussed here. He sent me a large number of pheasants instead. Two of these -- one cut up, and one served whole -- were the main course.

Basque Pheasant.

I made Basque Pheasant, a cake common to Transylvania, and a honey wheat bread. The pheasant was by far the star of the show. Here are the ingredients as listed in this extraordinary reference guide and cookbook:
Basque Pheasant

2 pheasants, cut up
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white whine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup medium pitted prunes
1 cup pitted medium Spanish green olives
1/4 cup capers with liquid
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
As for preparation, I simply put the pheasant in a cast iron dutch oven, mixed all the other ingredients together and poured them on as a marinade. After several hours, put them in to roast at 350 degrees for an hour; then remove the lid from the dutch oven, turn the temperature up to 425 and finish browning the skin and ensuring proper internal temperature (165 degrees in the thickest part of the meat).

It's an interesting flavor, similar to coq au vin for the obvious reasons, but with a sweetness to match the savor that is not found in the French recipe. If you're looking for something new, you might give it a try.

Many thanks to Mark for his generous gift, part of which we greatly enjoyed this evening. I award him "The Hero's Portion" for today, although he could not be here to share it!

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