A Passion for Cigars

It’s just gone noon and the guns are gathered around the rear of a Range Rover, each one eagerly burrowing through a Fortnum’s hamper in the hope that there’s one last sausage roll left. The team are shooting through, so a brief break in the field constitutes lunch. A couple of yards away there is contented looking man, clad in tweed, feet sheathed in a pair of muddy Hunter wellies; he has an overly exuberant spaniel at his side. Whilst the others are fighting over bits of pastry and meat, this man is taking a moment to enjoy one of life’s most wonderful pleasures – a fine cigar. He’ll nibble on whatever’s left, he’s more than happy with a bit of cake and cheese. But a cigar, this time a little Partagas Short, is bringing him much enjoyment – and a brief respite from the carnage unfolding behind the shoot captain’s vehicle. He draws on the cigar, enjoys the flavours as they swirl around his mouth, and gazes longingly across a valley which could have been purpose designed for showing fantastic pheasants. ‘I hope the next drive provides as much sport as the last,’ he thinks to himself. He looks at his cocker, which has spotted that his owner has let his guard down. ‘Go on boy, you chase that squirrel, I’m just enjoying the moment…’

I’m sure many of you can relate to the image of tranquility painted above. Of course, cigars can be equally as sociable too; the guns gathered together, passing the cutter and lighter around, enjoying camaraderie and a Cuban.

But what of that Partagas Short? A wonderful cigar – indeed I would rank it amongst the very best you can lay your hands on. They’re good value and pack more flavour and punch into a few short inches of hand-rolled tobacco than one could possibly imagine. One for an experienced smoker, perhaps – though with ten years in the humidor they can soften enough to be enjoyed by anyone. I certainly wouldn’t entertain smoking them too young, as they can be a little brash and abrasive. Five years should see them to a point that the really aggressive bitterness has given way to a much more rounded power, and the smorgasbord of flavours will have had a chance to mingle and develop in harmony. A perfect accompaniment to musing about the next drive…

Read the Cigar Monologues review of the Partagas Short – here.


I’m hoping that these occasional meanderings through the mind of a sportsman cigar blogger will be of interest to the followers of Siparium Sporting’s blog. As ever with these things, feedback is most welcome, please do comment below! Perhaps you have a favourite cigar for in the field?


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Pheasant Normandy

We’ve got some super exciting announcements in the pipeline at the moment, and some interesting blog posts in the drafts folder. However, that’s all still to come, for today, here’s a recipe that’s worth considering for the weekend – with no Six Nations it gives an opportunity to enjoy some time in the kitchen.

This is a recipe which has kindly been sent to us by one of the guns from our roving syndicate! If you have any pheasant in the freezer from last season then give this a go! It’s warming, but a little lighter than mid-winter fare, perfect as we enter the spring! If you don’t have any left, don’t worry, it’s perfect in the early season when apples are ripe and ready for the picking!

Pheasant NormandyIngredients (serves 3-4)

  • 2 pheasants
  • Streaky bacon
  • 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 sticks of celery
  • Sage leaves
  • Calvados
  • Bottle of cider
  • 2 eating apples
  • 2 dessert apples
  • Brown sugar (for baked dessert apples)

Method

  1. Brown two pheasants and remove from pan.
  2. Chop an onion, streaky bacon, a carrot, and celery and fry off with butter in the pan you browned the pheasants in. Add a couple of leaves of sage.
  3. Return the pheasant to the pan, add the calvados, a pint of off-dry cider, and two chopped eating apples. Bring to the boil,  then put in the oven for 25-30 minutes for 190°C.
  4. After taking out of the oven, remove pheasants, chop into portions and keep warm.
  5. Add half a pint of stock (as described below) to the liquid left in the pan, simmer for 15 minutes to reduce, and then stir in the cream.
  6. Pour the sauce over the pheasants and garnish with crispy bacon and sage leaves.
  7. Serve with baked dessert apples (core, half, and sprinkle with brown sugar).

 

Pheasant Stock (Developed from a recipe in The Field)

  • Raw pheasant carcasses or leftover bones from a roast
  • Per carcass: an onion (skin on, cut in half and pierced with 2 cloves), 1 stick celery, 1 unpeeled carrot, 2 peppercorns and 1 bay-leaf
  • Some water

Roast carcasses in a hot oven for about 20 minutes with onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns and bay-leaf. (Not required with bones from a roast).

Simmer the carcasses (along with any small bones, juices, or roasted veg bits from the previous step) in a covered pan of water. 500ml should be about right for the recipe above. Long and slow is the aim of the game here – several hours at a low temperature is best!

Once the stock has a nice colour to it, and the taste has become gorgeously rich with pheasant flavours, it’s good to go! Strain into a bowl and refrigerate, allowing the flavours to develop and harmonise even further!