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Guiso de Faisán

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 October 2010 at 16:28
From Culinaria Spain:
 
Quote In Spain, hunting is a national sport, more popular than bullfighting or football....There is scarcely any nook or cranny where hunting does not take place....The Spaniards call their country "the hunting grounds of Europe." And the heart of these hunting grounds is the Montes de Toledo, the range of hills in La Mancha, coloured dark by its stone oaks....
 
In earlier times, workers on the land earned a meager wage, but were able to survive by adding game to their menus. Shepherds and farmers have also made a considerable contribution to Spanish cuisine with their shotguns, traps and creative ideas....
 
The passage above once again demonstrates one of the fundamental common threads of nearly all worldwide cuisines: food from the land and from the people who work it and live off it. In order to do that heritage honour, I decided to try a variation on John's guiso de pollo, using pheasant (faisán), which is one of Spain's popular game birds.
 
The main component of this dish came from friends of the family who gave us two pheasants that had been bagged on Sunday. We skinned the birds and removed the breasts for another dish, leaving plenty of good meat on the bones; i had been wanting to try guiso for quite a while, and this seems like a perfect opportunity!
 
here's the ingredients list, slightly modified from John's:
 

1 Whole Chicken (I used two dressed, skinned and breasted pheasants)

1 Large onion, chunked

3 Carrots finely diced

4 Medium potatoes, cut into 2” cubes

½ LB mushrooms halved

½ pint heavy cream (8oz)

1 (12oz) can tomato paste

2 Medium cans crushed tomatoes (28oz total)

1 bottle (3 cups) white wine

1 TBSP Oregano

2 TBSP salt

1 TBSP smoked paprika

2 TSP pepper

Olive Oil

Water

 

Method:

 

cover the brid with water, add a little salt and then bring the pot to a boil. reduce to medium-low and simmer for three hours, or until all the meat falls from the bones. strain the solids, reserving the broth. after the solids have cooled a bit, pick through the solids and retrieve all the meat, discarding the bones etc. set the meat aside.

 

meanwhile, halve the mushrooms and chop the onion. saute both in a splash of olive oil, then add a cup of wine to de-glaze. let the liquids reduce down while dicing the carrots and potatoes. add the carrots to the onion and mushrooms; toss the potateos in a little olive oil and then put them under the broiler in the oven for a while to brown in order to add flavour and so that they hold their shape.

 

after de-fatting the broth, add the meat to the pot with the mushrooms, onions, carrots and potatoes. add the tomatoes and the heavy cream, then the tomato paste and the remaionder of the spices. stir well and bring to a boil, making sure the paste is evenly distributed. add the remainder of the wine and reduce heat to simmer at least two hours - it gets better the longer it simmers. serve with hot, fresh, buttered bread.

 

I have all the ingredients within reach, except for the fresh vegetables, the heavy cream and the chardonnay. For this dish, I want to use a Spanish Chardonnay from Don Luciano wineries, which is located in the heart of Spain's hunting culture, La Mancha.
 
I posted it, so I am committed to it! Plans are to prepare it this weekend. More to follow.....
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2010 at 16:26
making this one right now, and the smells in the house are really good! as john said, this dish IS the essence of spain.
 
pheasant is a very lean bird that tastes very similar to chicken, maybe a bit more rustic or with a little more body, and i think that it is going to do very well in this dish. since i had two pheasants and have to feed six people, i figured it would be good to double the recipe. the thing i didn't take into account is that pheasants have a little less meat than a chicken and also that they were breasted, which is a good portion of the meat right there. conesequently, there is a little less meat than i would prefer in this guiso; but, having said that, i am sure that many peasant households in spain had less meat than they would have wanted in their guisos as well, so it's all good - the vegetables are making up for it quite well, i think.
 
one thing i can say for sure, the don luciano is working very well with the smoked paprika and adding to the heavenly aromas en la cocina.
 
 
from the label:
 
Quote this fine chardonnay, of beautiful golden colour, is the result of a careful selection of the finest grapes of the la mancha appellation. complex, elegant and sensual, this wine is rich in flavours of citrus, apples, bananas and tropical fruits. very clean, fresh and long on the finish, our chardonnay is a great match with fish, shellfish, salads and pasta, as well as other traditional mediterranean foods.
 
bottled by j. garcia carrion la mancha s.a. daimiel (ciudad real) españa REN CLM-437/CR
 
imported by shaw-ross international importers. miramar, florida
 
i can say without a doubt that this chardonnay is the ebst that i ahve tried so far, both for cooking and for drinking - this may not be saying much, since my experiece is limited, but for the very modest price (sub-five dollars) it is impossible to beat.
 
trying to shoe-horn this in with about a dozen other projects today, so no preparation pictures (pretty much the same as john's guiso de pollo anyway), but i will get a plated picture or two of the final product, which i expect to be very good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2010 at 09:58
as promised, here are a couple of pix. this was the first bowl, which i got for the beautiful mrs. tas:
 
 
here's a shot that's closer, with a little too much flash as well:
 
 
note that in these pix, it is a little thin, more of a soup than a stew.
 
after serving this to mrs. tas, i went to help my good friends aaron (exploreralpha) and jane (bluemoon) pack up for their move to the toher side of the state, about 380-odd miles from here. i will miss them a lot, but they gotta go where the jobs are, and i do understand that.
 
later, when i came back, i sampled some of the guiso and shared some with aaron and jane. it had reduced down to a thicker, richer stew that was a nice, dark reddish-brown in colour and rich, thick and bubbly. the taste was excellent, with the tomato and carrot taking prominence and the earthy pimentón ahumado providing a subtle basso continuo underneath. i found thsi to be a great way to prepare pheasant and most everyone agreed. aaron and jane were impressed, as were two of the kids. the beautiful mrs. tas said that she liked it except for the occaisional small bone from the pheasant that got missed when we were picking through and getting all the meat.
 
this one was a great success and i strongly recommend it to anyone wishing a wonderful poultry stew that will provide a true atmosphere of old spain. whether prepared with chicken or pheasant, it is easy, rich, delicious and filling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2010 at 14:28
Hey congratulations on making another wonderfully ancient dish from the old-world. This is what the FOTW is all about! Glad to hear you all liked it and as you already know it is an easy delicious dish for any house during the cooler weather. Your pics were nice and sure showed off the beautiful color your guiso took on....perfectly done! Thumbs Up  Sure bet the pheasant was a lot tastier than chicken and made it much closer to the ur-recipe. Next time you make it with chicken make sure you let us know. Nice to hear about another successful FOTW meal! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2010 at 14:55

hey, john - while separating the meat from the bones, we tried a bit or two of the pheasant meat. it actually tastes close to chicken, much more lean, with a more rustic and bold flavour that really speaks to the land that it comes from. i have never had a free-range chicken, but i imagine it would be close to that.

keep in mind that these are wild pheasants and "farmed" ones would not taste the same. in all, i was glad with it and, in fact, the two birds produced quite a bit more meat than i was expecting, even with breasts removed. my ownly criticism, and a mild one at that, was the "stringy" texture that the meat took on after so many hours of simmering. every single fibre of muscle separated into little strings and while this was good when mixed with the other ingredients, it occasionally clumpd together in balls of meat that had a mushy texture - still, the flavour was very good and i would easily make this again.
 
i sampled the don luciano again as i added it to the stew. this really is a good wine and the price is incredible slightly dry but also sweet enough to give some interesting light, fresh flavours. i am guessing that in the spring this wine could really be appreciated. i am sure that more expensive wines are better, but for now, this wine has a permanent spot in the "chardonnay" slot of my wine rack. if a recall correctly from our conversations, it might be a touch too sweet for your tastes, but for me the "freshness" of it makes up for this. if you see this on the shelf sometime, give it a try and let me know what you think of it - i'd be honestly interested in your opinion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2010 at 16:44
Tas...once again congratulations are in order for your meal. Well done, buddy. Clap
 
"free-range" chickens do not actually range free upon the plains wandering about the hinterlands. Free-range means the birds are not penned, and allowed to wander outdoors within a certain enclosure or area and peck and pick as they choose. In industry, "free range" birds must have (if I am correct, not sure and open to corrections) 3 square yards  of space per per bird. Obviously they are penned.
 
The average person keeping chickens is essentially raising "free range" birds since they come and go out of the henhouse, they pick and peck and wander about. So, don't get all hung up on the "free range" moniker. It's local chickens that can walk around and pick and peck and eat worms and stones and flies. My sister in law has a farm not 15 minutes or so from here and her birds wander about between the milk cow, calves and vegetable garden peckin' what they want and fed off a trough of kitchen leavin's. Every night they are shoo'd back in their house and closed up until sunrise. That is what free range chickens are.
 
All in all what I am getting at is that where you live way up there and in your family I am darn sure you have eaten much free-range chicken!
 
Anyway, sorry you didn't like the stringy texture of the meat. That is ubiquitous guiso since no one (I ever knew of) takes the meat pieces and dices them up. They boil the bird until it falls apart and that is what you get. That is the way ot is supposed to be. However, if you don't like that, there is an easy fix: when you take the meat off the bones and ditch the gristle and bones, just dice up the meat chunks before putting them back into the pot. Problem solved!
 
Don Luciano is great f that is what you have tasted and liked! Seriously. THAT is what wine is all about.....if you like it then it is good. I have tried many wines that have been seriously expensive and some we thought tasted no better than their $18 counterparts. So, the answer was..and is...and always will be...buy the one we like! Of course too many of the expensive wines are far better and worth every cent of their price. So then, they are the special occasion wines.
 
So for the everyday, the cooking, the sipping-as-you-cook-wine, if that is what you like then rock with it. There is nothing better.
 
By the way...if you like whites, try expanding outside chardonnay. There is a lot more to the world of white wines than that and you'll find you may like a different grape a whole lot better.  There are a lot more white wines to taste and like outside chardonnay.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 November 2010 at 08:34

good morning, john! it wouldn't be accurate to say that i didn't like it, but it it was definitely different. the flavours were out of this world - i think i was expecting the meat to be similar to pulled pork, but of course chicken (and especially pheasant) are much too lean for that. like you say, the texture is quintissential for guiso - just a new thing to experience!

i hear you on the wines and what makes a "good" wine. definitely impressed with this chardonnay but i am sure there are many out there just as good or better. looking forward to trying some other white wines as well. so far, the only one i've tried is moscato, which the beautiful mrs. tas also seemed to like. i am also looking very much forward to trying bella sera's pinot grigio and chateau ste michelle's sauvignon blanc, as soon as i can find them! currently in my wine rack i have three white wines:
 
Mission Mountain Winery Riesling (http://www.missionmountainwinery.com/?page_id=18)
 
beringer california collection moscato (http://www.beringer.com/2009-beringer-moscato-california)
 
oak leaf sauvingnon blanc (http://www.oakleafvineyards.com/)
 
don't know anything about any of them, but looking forward to trying them all, as well as the ones mentioned above. perhaps this coming friday night will be a wine, cheese and movie night.
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