Sunday, 12 February 2012

Pheasant with Apples, Cider and Cream

I haven't got a meal to post from this evening, as we've had a delicious lunch at my neighbours house and I'm still full. The main course was a Rick Stein recipe of pot roasted chicken which I will definitely be trying out at some point.
The other evening when the kids had the sausage sauce, Steve and I had pheasant.  Pheasant is certainly not something we have on a regular basis, it's usually a meal we would have at Christmas or New Year, when my father in law Graham cooks a wonderful Elizabeth David recipe with cream and calvados brandy.
However I was given 2 prepared pheasants this week from the market, one for the freezer and one to eat now. It is very reasonably priced meat and very easy to cook. A long time ago Steve was given a pheasant from somebody at work who had been out shooting. He invited my parents for dinner with the intention of preparing and cooking the whole bird himself.  He hung it in the airing cupboard if I remember rightly for a few days, but when it came to plucking it, he couldn't stomach it and had to go off to Sainsburys for a ready plucked one. I think a fox must have got lucky that night as we put the poor thing at the bottom of the garden and it had gone the next day.
This recipe is from Delia Smiths "Complete Illustrated Cookery Course", a book that every household should own.

Serves 2
1 plump pheasant, oven ready
1oz butter
1 tbspn olive oil
half an onion chopped
3 medium apples
175ml of dry cider
150ml double cream (I used 2 tbsp of creme fraiche instead)
salt and pepper
A large casserole dish

First, heat the butter and the oil together in the casserole dish. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper and brown it in the hot fat, turning it frequently so it browns all over.  Add the onion and let it soften gently, core and peel the apples. Slice them, not too thinly and stir them into the casserole. Then add the cider and turn the bird onto it's side and cover the casserole. Cook over a low heat for about 1 hour, remembering to turn the bird half way through the cooking time.
When the bird is cooked, remove it to a warmed dish. Simmer the apples remaining in the casserole until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cream and season. 
Heat gently then pour the apples and cream over the pheasant and serve.

I would like to add at this point it might be worth stripping the meat off the pheasant and putting it back into the sauce so it coats the meat. There isn't a great amount of meat on the bird so just use the best bits.

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