By Matthew Altizer
This dish is full of wintery flavours and makes for a surprisingly easy holiday main course. Normally, pheasants are only available whole, but they can be butchered just like chickens – the legs can be roasted or fried, and the bones make delicious stock.
2 boneless pheasant breasts, skin removed (find them at Second to None Meats and Bon Ton Meat Market)
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 T. grapeseed oil
2 slices foie gras (about 1 T. each)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (8 x 10 inches)
2 t. quince paste (available in specialty food stores)
1/2 t. orange zest
1 T. whipping cream
Preheat oven to 425°F. Season the pheasant breasts well with salt and pepper. Preheat a sauté pan over high heat, add the grapeseed oil and quickly sear the pheasant breasts until light golden brown. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Put a clean baking sheet in the oven to preheat, this will help cook the bottom of the pastry. Pat the pheasant dry, and then make a small slice horizontally through the meat. Stuff the foie gras inside the pocket, making sure that none is sticking out.
Cut the puff pastry into two large ovals, big enough to wrap around the pheasant breasts completely. Place 1 t. of quince paste and ¼ t. zest onto each piece of pastry, followed by the pheasant breast. Bring the edges up and pinch them together, cutting off any extra pastry. Whisk the egg with the cream and brush over the pastry and then transfer to the hot baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Remove the Wellingtons from the oven and let them rest for a couple of minutes before serving. Serves 2.