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When the nights start drawing in and the temperature is getting that little bit chillier each day, you can rest assured that its game season! Birds like pheasant and a host of other fowl suddenly become available on the shelves ready for roasts, stews and pies. This is our take on the classic roasted pheasant.
- 2 × pheasant
- 4 × strips of bacon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 200ml port
- 1 teaspoon red current jelly
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 250ml stock
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (and about 10 minutes for the sauce)
Serves: 5 - 6
- Heat the oven to 180°c.
- Put the pheasants into a roasting tin, rub them with the oil, lay 2 strips of bacon over the top of them, covering the breasts, and season them with salt & pepper.
- Put the pheasants into the oven and roast them for 30 minutes.
- After the time, remove them from oven.
- Take the pheasants out of the roasting tin and allow them to rest while you make the sauce.
- Remove as much fat from the roasting tin as you can without removing any of the juices, but leave about 1 tablespoon of fat in the tin (depending on your pheasants/bacon, there may not be much fat at all in the tin, if there is not enough add some butter).
- Put the roasting tin onto your hob, put the flour into the tin, mix it into the fat and then cook it for about 1 minute.
- Then add half the stock and mix it in, scraping off any lovelyness stuck to the bottom of the tin, until it has formed a smooth, coherent paste.
- When the stock and flour have incorporated fully, add the other half of the stock and mix it in fully.
- Then add the port and mix it in.
- Pour in the port, mix it in and then add the red current jelly and whisk that in until it has completely dissolved.
- Simmer the sauce for 2 or 3 minutes, then add in the lemon juice, mix it in and pour the sauce into a suitable serving jug.
- Carve the meat and serve. We served it with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, steamed broccoli and carrots and the sauce.
- Generally, pheasants are not reared intensively, they are wild animals and therefore do not get slaughtered in the same manner as domesticated fowl. Instead, they get blasted out of the sky by shotguns which means that when it comes to eating them, they tend to be full of birdshot (i.e. very small ball-bearings of lead).
Getting a piece of birdshot stuck in one of your back teeth is not only surprisingly easy but it is also thoroughly unpleasant and can occasionally require a trip to the dentist, so when you eat pheasant (whether it’s at home or in a restaurant) do so carefully. Look for feathers that have been pushed into the meat when the birdshot hits as well as tunnels running through the meat as signs that there may be a piece of lead hiding in there.