A few weeks ago I was invited for a small hunt at the wonderful Huys ten Donck
in the Netherlands. The house is still being resided by descendants of the original owners. After a nice morning and early afternoon in the nature, we had a wonderful lunch in the house. The large dining room, with fire place and the sun shining through the large windowns made the whole experience feel like it took place a few centuries ago.
I did not shoot anything myself, but I was offered a pheasant. Although I at first did not see the pheasant end up on a plate at my student house, i did of course accept it. 3 days later myself and 2 of my housemates, all grown up in the city, started with a pheasant on the kitchen table, hoping it eventually would end up on our plates. First the pheasant had to be plucked. Although it took a while it was rather easy, except a few small feathers were hard to remove. A second above a gas flame would burn them away. Next the knive needed to be used. After we removes the claws, head, tail and part of the wing we looked at it and thought "And now???". We of course knew we had to gut it, but admittedly we were a bit anxious. The only advice we could get was "Gut it, like you gut a chicken". Only one problem, we didn't knew how to do that either. We ended up cutting the pheasant open a little bit too much, just to be sure it was clean. The smell during the gutting was not the best I ever smelled, to put it lightly, but the bird ended in a pan finaly. It was cooked in butter, with some unions and garlic, and bacon tied to the chest. After some 80 minutes we decided to try it.
Unfortunately it was a bit dry. I was already warned about it, and we might have cooked it a bit too long. Furthermore we decided to add as little ingredients as possible, but maybe we needed some to make it more tender. But, all in all, it was a great experience. From a 'complete' bird to a meal, quite a lesson for three city guys.