Perched in the rolling green woodlands of Craughwell, County Galway, St. Cleran’s Manor House stands majestically beside the gently flowing Dunkellin River and a crumbling moss-covered castle ruin.
Built in 1784 by the Burke family, the cut limestone house has had a long and colorful history. Situated off the main Dublin-to-Galway road, the house is reached by a short, tree-lined avenue that turns across the small Sarsfield Bridge, which crosses the river Dunkellin. Known originally as Issercleran (the name was anglicized to St. Cleran’s Manor — there is no saint named Clerans), it was designed as a two-story house by the Burke family in the late 18th century when they abandoned their ancestral castle nearby.
Once the longtime home of director John Huston and his actress-daughter Anjelica, this 18th century estate was later transformed into a charming bed and breakfast by TV legend Merv Griffin, with 12 rooms named after its former inhabitants.
The manor’s executive chef, Hisashi Kumagai, treated guests to a daily dose of impressive dishes which combined Asian techniques with fresh Irish ingredients. All of the food was incredibly, and lovingly prepared.
During our stay, Kumagai shared two recipes with us: Pan Roasted Wild Pheasant with Celeriac Wild Rice and Sauce Poivrade and Cajun Spiced Guinea Fowl Spring Rolls with Hoisin Cream.
As of April 2021, St. Cleran’s manor is once again a private residence.
Pan Roasted Wild Pheasant
- 2 whole wild pheasant skinned and cleaned salt and pepper, to taste
- paprika to taste
- 1 small celery root
- 1/4 lemon
- cubed butter as needed
- 1 1/2 cups organic wild rice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped mixed red green, yellow bell peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 cups pheasant stock or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 ounce chilled unsalted butter cubed
- Preheat oven at 400 F.
- To prepare the pheasant: De-bone pheas- ants into breast and legs. Trim wing bones and leg bones (half of leg bones). Season with some salt, paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- To prepare the celeriac: Peel celery root and cut into julienne. Cook in salted boiling water with lemon for just 1 minute. Drain well and season lightly with a little cubed but- ter. Set aside and keep warm.
- To make the rice: Cook wild rice until rice is open, about 30 minutes. In the skillet, heat grapeseed oil and saute chopped peppers and shallots together over medium high heat for a minute. Add cooked wild rice and saute for 1 more minute. Season and mix with chopped parsley. Set aside and keep warm.
- To make sauce: In the sauce pan, mix to- gether pheasant stock and red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat by half. Add crushed black pepper and seasoning. Keep simmer- ing, adding cold butter piece by piece, and whisk well. Keep warm.
- To finish: Place the frying pan over high heat with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and add the pheasant skin-side down. Saute until light brown (3 or 4 minutes). Turn the meat over and saute for a few more minutes. Roast the meat in the pre-heated oven for about 5 min- utes, or until just cooked, but do not over- cook.
- To Serve: Place the wild rice into a ring mold in the center of the plate. Place the leg on top, and sliced breast on the side of wild rice. Pour over the sauce through the fine sieve. Garnish with julienned celeriac.
Cajun Spiced Guinea Fowl Spring Rolls
- 4 guinea fowl breasts or chicken, skinned and trimmed
- Cajun spice as needed
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- sesame seed oil as needed
- 1 medium green pepper cut into strips
- 1 medium red pepper cut into strips
- 1 medium yellow pepper cut into strips
- 1 package beans sprouts about 8 oz., rinsed well
- 1 bunch green onions cut into 2-inch lengthwise strips
- 1 leek stalk well washed, cut into 2-inch lengthwise strips
- 1 medium zucchini cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons Cajun spice
- 1/4 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Hoisin Cream Sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 8 sheets spring roll wrappers 10-inch square
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Prepare the guinea fowl: Preheat oven to 375 F. Preheat fat-fryer to 400 F.
- Season the guinea fowl breast with Cajun spice and set aside for 10 minutes. In a fry- ing pan, heat grapeseed oil to high heat and sear the meat on both sides.
- Roast the meat in preheated oven for about 8 minutes, or until it is a little under cooked. Set aside.
- To prepare the vegetable filling: Place the wok over high heat and heat a few table- spoons of sesame seed oil; mix all the vegeta- bles together and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Season with Cajun spice and soy sauce. Place the vegetables in a colander or sieve to drain the liquid. Cool them down and mix in a bowl with sesame seeds.
- To make hoisin cream: In the saucepan mix hoisin sauce, heavy cream and white wine to- gether over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and blend well. Keep warm.
- To finish: Cut guinea fowl breasts into strips. Divide the meat and vegetables into 8 portions and wrap in spring roll wrappers. Make tight cylinder shapes.
- Deep fry in a preheated fat fryer for about 5 minutes, or until golden crisp. Place on the paper towel.
- To serve: Cut spring rolls into half (or whole if preferred), and pour hoisin cream sauce around the dish.