Would you eat roadkill?

It’s just gone 9am when the phone rings. I’m in between the school run and the nursery run. As usual I’m running – after D who is scooting perilously fast for her age, slaloming in and out of the ubiquitous dog poo. Newborn bounces against my chest in the sling and I have a feeling I’ve forgotten to do my bra up. Again.

Then, as it always does when I least want it to, the phone rings. It’s Unhusband.  The last time he called this early was to tell me he’d broken down.

‘What’s happened?’ I answer.

‘I’ve got dinner,’ he announces.

FFS. I haven’t even had breakfast and he’s actually calling to talk about dinner.

‘I’ll send you a picture,’ he says and hangs up.

And this is what he sends.

I’m no wildlife expert, but they look like pheasants to me. And they don’t look like they came from a butcher, which unless Unhusband’s taken up shooting, can mean only one thing: roadkill.

I know times are tight.  I know it’s the ‘hungry gap’ – the time between the last of the winter crops and the start of the early crops – of which there are still none.  All we have left on the allotment are parsnips, and we’ve been eating those about four times a week since February.  But roadkill?  

Unhusband insists he didn’t kill it. He found it by the road. It would be rude to just leave it there, a waste of good meat.  You can’t get much more free range than roadkill, afterall.

We do a deal. I’ll cook it, as long as he plucks. And removes all the gross bits.

That evening, Unhusband sets to work with a bucket of boiling water and some rubber gloves. The feathers are beautiful, it seems a shame to chuck them away. J wants to take them to school. D wants to take them to bed! 

Two hours later, the excitement has worn off. Unhusband is still ripping out plumage and muttering something about ‘wishing he’d left the plucking things on the road.’ To be honest, so do I.

We’re all starving, it’ll be midnight before we eat. I whip up some pasta instead.  

The pheasants spend a night in the fridge and the next day I consult my old friend Hugh for some advice. Fearnley-Whittingstall that is, not Edwards.

He’s not really a friend, I just like his River Cottage recipes, even if he does overdo the old adjectives.

I haven’t got a flying clue what to do with pheasant, so I follow Hugh’s advice to the letter, and drown the things in half a bottle of wine, then chuck in a load of onion, chorizo and butter beans. Well, more or less.

And here’s how it turned out.

I have to admit, the meat was slightly gamey for my taste, but it was certainly edible and the chorizo really helped. Unhusband loved it, the kids ate some too, and nobody was sick, which is always a bonus.  This year I think I’ll try to grow some purple sprouting broccoli though – apparently that’s a good one for filling the hungry gap. Otherwise, who knows what we’ll be eating next – roasted fox, scrambled snake, owl ice-cream, gruffalo crumble…..

Would you eat roadkill?

The River Cottage recipe I used is here.

About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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  1. Lydia says:

    Good on you! The receipe sounds delicious. We may all be eating road kill soon if the economy does not improve. I recall watching a programme about a man who eats every kind of animal he finds, owls, badgers etc.wastw not want not. glad your pheasants did not die in vain:)

  2. In answer to your first question, no. Would feel very squeamish about it. Having said that, the finished dish looks delicious.

  3. I certainly would eat roadkill pheasants. I have heard of people eating other things and it makes sense in a way (waste not want not), but not sure I’d want to go there unless I really needed to.

  4. Blimey, it must be roadkill season!! Just been up to the midlands and saw 15-20 dead pheasants on the side of the road and one live hen pheasant just sat in the middle of the dual carriageway waiting for… erm, the inevitable.

    We didn’t stop so we didn’t eat – wimps!

  5. Tigger's Mum says:

    Just found your blog and have been reading a few back blogs… Try Swiss Chard to add variation to the few veg available in the hungry gap. I seemed to be surviving on chard, after the last of the leeks, purple sprouting brocoli, winter mustard, and varieties of kale either finished or went well beyond their best. 7 June – it is only now starting to go to seed and the next lot are well on their way for this year. I just found a recipe for mixing it with polenta and blue cheese in a bake which works and makes good use of its taste and colour. it is also good sauteed in butter and served with lemon juice and a few roasted almond slivers(and load of black pepper). The white stems can be treated a different veg to the green leafy bits.

    regards and keep up the interesting writing
    Tigger’s Mum

    • Hi there. Mmm the guy on the next plot grows Swiss Chard. For some reason it’s never appealed, but that recipe sounds good so I could be tempted. I’ve got psb and leeks this year so hoping they will plug some of the next hungry gap. Happy growing!

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