It’s not always easy to get children to eat pheasant, but Rose Prince thinks this 1970s classic will be a hit with even the toughest young crowd. Serves 4 to 6, depending on appetite.
My mother’s most-used everyday cookbook in the 1970s was an edition of The Constance Spry Cookery Book that she must have been given after her wedding in the late 1950s.
I still use many recipes from this great tome: the dark and sticky Belvoir ginger cake, the toffee pudding and her method for sugaring a roast ham. But as children our favourite was the Maryland chicken.
Imagine southern-fried chicken before KFC got hold of it — a fresher version served with plump but light corn fritters and fried banana.
We thought it a great treat and years later when I made it for my own children they adored it too.
Getting children to eat pheasant
It is not always easy to persuade a young person to eat pheasant, sadly, because it simply has too much flavour compared with the blandness of modern chicken breeds, often together with a harder grained texture. But if the meat is tenderised then hidden in a coating of crunchy breadcrumbs and eaten, it can transform these attitudes into enthusiasm. Adults will, of course, also love this pheasant Maryland recipe and even more so with the addition of my punchy green salsa to serve alongside it. Sauté potatoes make the perfect companion.
Pheasant Maryland recipe
- 4 pheasant breast fillets
- 4 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with a pinch of salt
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- 6 tbsp dry breadcrumbs, or more
For the salsa
- 6 mild green chillies, finely chopped
- juice of two limes
- 4 tbsp chopped coriander
- 4 tbsp chopped parsley
For the corn fritters (makes 8)
- 2 eggs, separated
- 200g sugar-free canned sweetcorn kernels, drained (or defrosted frozen sweetcorn)
- 90g fresh breadcrumbs
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 large bananas
1.To prepare the pheasant, use a sharp knife to cut out any bruising — it does not matter if a hole is made. Place the fillets, spaced well apart, between two large sheets of baking parchment. Hammer evenly with the flat side of a meat hammer or rolling pin to tenderise. Carefully peel them from the paper.
2, Have ready three flat plates. Put the flour on one, the egg on the second and breadcrumbs on the third. Dip each thin pheasant fillet in the flour, coating on both sides. Shake off any excess flour, then dip in the egg, coating the whole piece. Finally, dip in the breadcrumbs, turning to coat both sides. Repeat with all the pieces, then set them aside on a board or flat dish.
3. Just before frying the meat, mix the salsa ingredients together, season with salt and put to one side.
4. To make the fritters, put the egg yolks and sweetcorn in a bowl and season. Whisk the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Add the breadcrumbs to the corn with the baking powder and mix, then fold in the egg whites.
5. Ideally, cook the pheasant Maryland recipe in two frying pans — or cook the pheasant first in one and keep it warm. Pour a little vegetable oil into each pan and place over a medium heat. Fry the pheasant pieces on both sides for two minutes, then drain on kitchen paper. Set aside in a warm place.
6. For the fritters, make sure the oil is hot enough to sizzle. Drop a heaped spoonful of the corn batter into the pan to make a round patty. Fry for three minutes until it begins to puff up. Turn with a spatula — it should be golden, but be careful not to burn them. Cook for another 2 minutes.
7. Cut the bananas in half, then half lengthways. Fry on both sides until soft. Arrange the pheasant, fritters and bananas on a serving platter. Put the salsa on the table, and dig in.