Recipe: Roasted pheasant pie, with confit shallots, smoked bacon & chestnut mushrooms
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I don’t think we cook as much pheasant as we should. They’re in abundance at this time of year, and you can pick up a brace of these gorgeous birds for £5-£6 from your butcher. A lot of people are a little afraid about cooking pheasants, but by long-cooking it slowly in herbs and stock the flavours are all captured in the finished dish.
Anna potatoes are a classic and go very well with this type of dish, so do have a go at making those as they really are a great alternative to roasties on a Sunday.
Ingredients for 4
2 bay leaves
Sprig of fresh thyme
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp red currant jelly
750ml good chicken stock
2 tspn olive oil
200g puff pastry
For the garnish:
4 chestnut mushrooms cut into ¼
4 rashers streaky smoked bacon thinly sliced
16 round peeled shallots
2 tbsp. olive oil
Place a pan on the stove, add the olive oil and the peeled shallots. Cook for 5-6 minutes, moving around every minute or so, so that they don’t burn. Add the chopped-up bacon and the mushrooms with 2-3 minutes to go so that they don’t overcook. Check the seasoning and drain all of the ingredients onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil. Keep warm until required.
For the pie filling:
1. Turn on the oven at 180c.
2. Take the legs off your birds or better still get your butcher to do it (and while he’s at it get him to remove the wishbones too).
3. Season the legs, and then seal them off in a hot pan. After 4-5 minutes add the chopped shallots, carrot and the thyme and bay leaf.
4. When they are sealed all over, cover and add the tomato puree and the red currant jelly. over them in the stock and turn down the heat. You can now place the whole pan into the oven and allow to cook for 30-45 minutes until the meat is very tender and falls away from the bone.
5. Allow to cool and flake the meat off the bone, remove any sinews and small bones and reserve this meat in a bowl until required.
6. Place the stock back on the boil and reduce until you have the right consistency of gravy. You will not need to add any flour or other thickening to this.
7. Roll out the pastry to 5 mm thick and cut out 1 medium sized circle and 1 slightly larger.
8. Once the leg meat has cooled down, add a little of the reduced gravy to it and check the seasoning.
9. Brush the bottom circle of the pastry with the egg wash and place it on to a tray ready for the oven.
10. Egg wash the other pastry circle and gently mark a curved line from the centre out all the way around.
11. Now place the leg meat in the middle of the pastry circle on the tray and cover with the other pastry circle.
12. Seal down the sides and press in with your finger and the back of a knife all the way round to ensure a secure seal. Allow to rest.
13. Now season and seal the whole pheasants in a little olive oil.
15. Then serve the whole bird on a board along with all of the other components. I really enjoy this way of ‘help yourself’ eating – it has a real feeling of love and generosity to it, a great way to serve a great Sunday lunch.
6 large potatoes
Salt & pepper
Slice the potatoes very thinly as you would for dauphinoise potatoes. If you have a mandolin, even better. Arrange in an ovenproof dish putting a little bit of the melted butter and some seasoning as you go on each layer. On the very last layer arrange neatly as this is the presentation top that your friends or guests will see.
Bake in the centre of a pre heated oven for approximately 45 minutes until a knife goes through with no resistance.
As these take so long to cook, you may want to cook then before you start the other parts as these will be quite easy to re heat nearer the finishing time.
Enjoy with some purple sprouting broccoli.