Breast of Pheasant Sous Cloche (Under Glass)
At Antoine's they serve this elegant dish under a glass bell or dome, which keeps it hot and appetizingly visible. These glass bells are available at any restaurant supply store and are not very expensive. On the other hand, the pheasant is. Brillat-Savarin says that a fresh pheasant is not as good as a good chicken. He recommends hanging pheasant in its plumage for at least eight days and then plucking and preparing it when it is a little high. That, however, is a matter of taste, and it is possible to strike a happy medium.
This is Mr. Alciatore's recipe for pheasant, but I see no reason why breast of duck or even chicken or half a game hen could not be substituted for it, if you wish. At Antoine's, the wine served with this was a Cote de Beaune-Villages 1955, a magnificent Burgundy.
For the Pheasant:
1. Preheat oven to moderate (350°F; 175°C; Gas Mark 4).
2. Rub the cavities and skin of 2 ready-to-cook pheasants with the cut side of 1/2 lemon. Season inside and out with salt and pepper.
3. In a heavy pan melt: 4 tablespoons butter. Brown the birds on all sides.
4. Place pan in the oven. Baste birds with pan juices every 10 minutes and roast about 30 minutes for average-sized pheasants. Remove and keep warm.
For the Sauce:
In a saucepan heat: 2-1/2 cups brown sauce. Let it simmer until it has reduced about one-quarter. Add: 1/4 cup Madeira and 2 tablespoons minced truffles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the Presentation:
1. Cut into rounds: 4 slices bread and toast them.
2. Sauté: the 2 pheasant livers gently in 2 tablespoons butter. Mash well and spread liver and butter on the toast rounds.
3. Carve pheasants so you have 4 breasts. (I don't know what Mr. Alciatore did with the rest of our pheasants, but at home we have the most elegant snacks the next day!)
4. Place a roasted breast of pheasant on each round of toast. Cover with the sauce and place glass bell over each dish. Serve at once.
Yield: Serves 4
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