Traditional 'many bird' roast ...

Personally I find Turkey to be quite a tasteless meat, good for quantity but not so great when it comes to quality. If you are a fan of the bronze Turkey. I grant you it has more taste (not a lot, just a little bit more). But these seem to come in at a price that makes ones eyes water. Starting in the region of £70+ for anything worth having.

The rules of the Smith household Christmas dinner are ...

  • It must be different
  • The quality must be high
  • The cost must not be outlandish
Another tradition that has been agreed over many years is that 'Dad' (AKA me) cooks the dinner. Mum (AKA Shirley) has done it occasionally, but for this meal I feel that one must serve my wife.

So, lets explore this years treat, I decided that it had to be four different fowl. Duck, Grouse, Pheasant and a stuffing of Chicken with homemade mincemeat.

Taking each picture in turn, we will explore this treat. There are no set rules, only the pleasure of prepping and cooking this delight. Prep time is around two hours; it is worth noting that whilst an amateur I have become experienced at deboning birds. If you are unsure practice on an ordinary Chicken. Something that would make a sunday roast into a different experience. 

This is a large duck, price from our local butcher, £13. Fully boned, the bottom of the picture are the two breasts, the top both legs deboned to the full I have removed the wings, partially deboning them as well.

Now for two grouse, I felt that I needed something quite 'gamy' in this years dish. Our local butcher, ordered them for me from Smithfield. Price £16 for the pair. Fully boned, I laid them evenly top and bottom of the duck. They are the darker meat in this picture.

Now for two pairs of pheasant breasts, price £7.50. Again, the butcher stocks pheasant. Peter Doran is a very typical butcher, but very willing to locate what ever one needs.

Now for the treat, in a homage to the Victorian idea of a mince pie I checked in on a recipe by Mrs Beaton. This is minced Chicken (four breasts at about £4.00) and homemade mince meat (the sweet dried fruit), which was made for me by my daughter Victoria. (estimated price about £2.00). This has been soaked in Brandy for at least one week before being added to the minced Chicken.

The duck is placed on cling film, and the stuffing added. as you can see from the picture, I am generous ensuring that the stuffing covers the full central length of the bird roast. 

Now, to roll it all up, and you must roll it tight and use ample cling film. I go around in both directions multiple times. You cannot use too much cling film.

To cook, I sous vide the bird roast in an bain maire (a pan with gently simmering water). I kept it at around 80 degrees. My timings were 2 hours each side, then 1 hour each side (this means i turned it). Then 1.5 hours at 150 degrees in the oven with the clingfilm removed and replace with foil. I removed the foil for the last 1/2 an hour

The finished result looked like ...

This slices better and served 6 for Christmas day as well as two other meals. There was no waste and the guests all raved about it (you have to take my word for this). 

The total cost around £43, I could do this for less money, the choice of grouse put the total up. I have made similar for less that £30 and have fed the same number of souls. There are many videos on YouTube and elsewhere on how to debone a chicken. A sharp knife that has a strong back is all that you need.


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