OK, don't go below the cut if you are vegetarian/squeamish.
Courtesy of cheeky Michelle. Who offered me them, because she and Richard were given them and didn't want to have to pluck and gut them - then when I said yes, invited themselves round for dinner to eat them. Lazy woman.
Anyway, I started with this:
The first one I decided to pluck and remove the skin at the same time. I'm only planning on roasting two of them, the other two will be used in various ways, but skin not necessary. I was quite surprised at how yellow all the fat was under the skin. In fact, I was quite surprised at how much fat there was, because pheasants are notoriously dry and stringy, until I thought it through and realised that the reason for that is that there isn't any fat in flesh - no marbling.
So you can see from this photo - all the fat under the skin, and the gullet stuffed with corn, which they'd obviously just been feasting on:
And here's all four - one is completely skinless, the others less so (it tears quite easily). It took ages. Fortunately Doug came in when I was half way through the third, and helped me finish off. It was much easier and quicker with two of us, in terms of gutting, cutting off extremities etc. The gutting was hard. The bone is very dense and the cavity tight so not much room for manoevre, and the heart in particular was quite difficult to remove. Doug was a bit squeamish about that part, left it to me.
Now I'm going to research a recipe. Luigi's in London used to do the most amazing pheasant stuffed ravioli with a mushroom sauce. It was either that, or a pheasant and mushroom parpadelle, I wish I could remember. But it was delicious. I'm sure pheasant stock, mushroom jus and cream would be a good start.....