By Prue Coats for The Field
Friday, 06 January 2012
The top 10 pheasant recipes. Country chef Prue Coats selects her top pheasant recipes for The Field.
■ Sea salt and black pepper
■ 2 pheasants (young hens are best)
■ Olive oil
■ 1 pack (100g or 31⁄2oz) pancetta lardons
■ 1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
■ 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped into slithers
■ 2 juniper berries crushed with a few black peppercorns
■ 700g (241⁄2oz) charlotte potatoes, cut on the diagonal into 3 pieces
■ 6 rashers pancetta or streaky bacon
■ 2 large glasses rosé wine (or leftover sparkling pink prosecco)
Top tip from the wife of a manic shooting friend ("pheasant loot" brought home every single weekend of the season): for roasting any gamebird, put half an inch of wine in the pan to help keep the bird moist and tender. This particular recipe is a take on that tip, which started out as a "what if I did it like this" question and ended up as a firm family favourite.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Salt and pepper the pheasants. In the bottom of a large, cast-iron casserole, heat a glug of olive oil and brown the pheasants all over. Set aside. Tip in the lardons and fry until nearly crisp on a high heat. Add the onion, turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously until soft. Add the garlic, a small scatter of sea salt, crushed juniper berries and peppercorns and cook for a further minute. Add the potatoes and stir it all together.
Sit the pheasants on top and cover the breasts with the pancetta rashers or bacon. Heat the wine and pour it over. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 45 mins to an hour.
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