It’s game season! Which means you can get a hold of some really good British game, which is definitely worth doing. Pheasants are really easy to cook and make for a fantastic roast. They are more flavorsome than chicken and offer a nice rich flavour. I tried pot roasting them for the first time, thanks to a great recipe from BBC Good Food, and it worked really well. The birds weren’t dry at all and the veggies were beautifully flavoured from the wine and cooking juices. If you are thinking of making a roast soon, make it this one! It is a really easy recipe and a beautiful introduction to cooking pheasants.
Serves 4 | Prep 25 minutes | Cook 2 hrs
A little effort
- 2 pheasants, tied (ask your butcher to do this);
- 1 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned;
- 50ml vegetable oil;
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, thinly sliced;
- 8 shallots, peeled and left whole;
- 2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways;
- 2 parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthways;
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed;
- 1 thyme sprig;
- 1 oregano sprig;
- 2 bay leaves;
- 100ml marsala or sweet sherry;
- 50ml red wine;
- 200ml chicken stock;
- 1 tsp caster sugar;
- bread sauce, gravy and roast potatoes , to serve.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Using tweezers, tweeze out any remaining feathers on the birds. Though they come cleaned well, but a little work is usually required. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to prep the birds. Dust the pheasants with the flour, then heat the oil in a large flameproof dish with a matching lid (I used a casserole). Brown the pheasants all over, then remove from the dish.
In the same dish, fry the bacon, vegetables, garlic and herbs with 1 tbsp of the dusting flour for 5 mins, until the vegetables start to colour. Put the pheasants and any resting juices back in the dish, pour on the Marsala, wine and stock, add the sugar, then cover and cook for 1 hr 30 mins – 1 hr 50 mins or until the leg meat easily comes away from the bone.
Make a gravy while the birds are resting. Put the vegetables in a serving dish and heat up the cooking juices. Cook over a high heat for 5 or so minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened. You can add a bit of flower to help it thicken if needed.
Serve with bread sauce, gravy and roast potatoes on the side.
Original recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue October 2011, available online here.