Pheasant has been making its appearance on the local food scene for centuries and is plentiful in the UK, where the birds take cover in woodland. It is sold by many good butchers and local game stockists. There are a myriad of pheasant recipes and the key is to remember that it has a tendency to dry out, so be careful not to over-cook it. Casseroling is the best way to deal with older birds, but if you acquire a young local pheasant, it should be tender so you can just roast it simply and enjoy with roast potatoes or sage and apple potato rosti and some roasted root vegetables.
freshly ground black pepper
fresh sage leaves, torn
of garlic, peeled
butter at room temperature
of streaky bacon
dry white wine
- Half the orange, squeeze out the juice and pour half of it into the cavity of the pheasant – drizzle the rest over the skin. Mix the salt, pepper, sage and paprika together and use it to rub the bird inside and out. Place the remainder of the orange in the cavity of the bird along with the garlic and thyme.
- Use your hands to spread the butter over the breast, then place the bird breast side up in a roasting tin. Lay the bacon crosswise over the breast – secure if necessary with a cocktail stick.
- Cover the breast with foil and roast at 180°C, (gas mark 4, 350°F) for 45 minutes.
- Next, heat the wine to boiling in a small saucepan. Add the raisins, remove from heat and let stand for 45 minutes.
- When the pheasant has cooked for 45 minutes, remove the foil and pour the wine and raisins over. Bake uncovered, basting frequently, until the juices run clear, which should take about another 45 minutes.
- Remove the pheasant to a warm serving plate, leaving the bacon on the breast. Cover with foil and let it rest somewhere warm while you skim any fat off the sauce (this can be done in a gravy separator jug). If it has cooled too much, return it to the pan and re-heat, then spoon some of the sauce over the bird and pour the remaining into a gravy boat.