Well, March was crazy, but I’m back. Let’s roast this bird.
The Dish: Pheasant Roast with Berry Sauce
Well-roasted Fodlan pheasant drizzled with a berry reduction sauce. Ingredients are Poultry and Albinean Berries.
The Research: What are “albinean berries”? This dogged me until I found that England was called Albion back in the day, and cranberries are apparently important over there. Cranberries it is!
Or rather, cranberries it isn’t, because “frozen cranberries” is yet another one of those things that seems like it should be ubiquitous but is nearly impossible to find. Apparently cranberries aren’t in season here! That’s kind of the point of freezing fruit – year-round access, but sure, whatever. I’ll settle for some dried cranberries that I’ll rehydrate.
Looking at the in-game dish, it’s clearly a roasted bone-in chicken thigh atop a pool of what’s apparently the berry reduction (as an aside, I’m not a fan of the “sauce under the meat” presentation so I won’t be doing this), alongside some carrots, squash, and broccoli. Alright then! I’ll be making this cranberry sauce as a topper, and I’ll be steaming the veggies in the microwave – if it’s good enough for Kenji it’s good enough for me.
The Method: As you may have surmised, I’m roasting the chicken. But beforehand, it needs some flavor – so I’m making my usual chicken seasoning blend: kosher salt, black pepper, a pinch of MSG, and generous sprinklings of sage and thyme. When mixed with olive oil, it forms the rub that’ll make the best chicken you’ll ever have.
While it chills in the fridge to let the flavors mingle, I chop all the associated veggies, as well as a couple of shallots. I know the sauce calls for onions, but I prefer shallots for my pan sauces. Once that’s all done, and the cranberries are rehydrated, the chicken goes into a 400-degree oven with a thermometer inside to check for doneness. So I can get started on my pan sauce!
It only dawns on me a few minutes in that I’m not actually making a cranberry pan sauce, but rather, this recipe is for a savory version of cranberry sauce, that Thanksgiving standby. Okay then! Time to make lemonade out of…uh, cranberries. The sauce goes into a container to get puréed by my immersion blender. Once nice and smooth, it’s back in the pan to be thinned out by more port and balsamic vinegar. I throw in a pat of butter for added silky smoothness, and salt and pepper for the flavor. It’s actually pretty good! Crisis averted.
In the fullness of time, the chicken is ready. After a brief stint in the microwave, the veggies are ready as well. Plating time!
The Result: This one blew me away. The sauce was really good with the chicken, and the seasoning blend was perfect. But the real star here was the vegetables, which were perfectly steamed in the microwave, something I never would’ve considered if roasting were an option. I’ll definitely be trying that again.