Pheasant braised with leeks, cider & apples
SERVES 2-4 PREP 10 mins COOK 50 mins MORE EFFORT
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large pheasants, jointed
2 leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced
2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 Bramley apples, thickly sliced
2 tbsp brandy or calvados
800ml dry cider
300ml chicken or game stock
70ml double cream
½ tsp mace or ground nutmeg
50g skinless roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped for the pickled apples
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 juniper berries, crushed
½ Bramley apple, peeled, cubed
1 For the pickled apples, put the salt, sugar, vinegar and berries in a small pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the apple cubes and set aside.
2 Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided casserole and season the pheasant joints with salt. Brown them all over, rendering out some of the yellow fat into the pan. Remove to a plate and season with pepper. Add the leeks, bacon and thyme to the pan along with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and fry until the leeks have softened – about 8 mins. Add the apple slices and cook until starting to colour on both sides.
3 Spoon in the brandy and cook until evaporated, add the cider and simmer for a few more mins to cook off the alcohol. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and add the pheasant joints back to the pan, covering with a circle of baking parchment.
4 After 15 mins, remove the breasts from the pan to a plate and return the circle of baking parchment to the pan. Cook gently for a further 20 mins, then remove all the pheasant pieces from the pan to a plate and turn the heat up to reduce the sauce. Boil hard for a few min until reduced, then stir in the cream and mace and turn off the heat. Return the pheasant pieces to the sauce - the residual heat will warm it perfectly.
5 Divide the pheasant between plates and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with the pickled apples and hazelnuts. Serve with the celeriac colcannon.
GOOD TO KNOW iron • 1 of 5-a-day PER SERVING 874 kcals • fat 52g • saturates 17g • carbs 16g • sugars 15g • fibre 4g • protein 66g • salt 2.2g