So here’s the recipe for our delicious Empire Farm pheasants. We served four people and there was plenty to go around and a bit of pheasant left over for sandwiches or maybe even a mini pie. Sally, who was here for dinner, picked up on the PX Sherry in the gravy and introduced us all to a delicious and extremely simple pudding – get a bowl of ice cream and pour over some sherry, an amazingly good grown up maple syrup really.
2 x pheasant (sorry, i didn’t weigh them – but I’d guess they were between 800g and 1kg)
1 large carrot
2 celery sticks
2 garlic cloves, squashed
1 orange, halved
small bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 rashers bacon
knob of butter, softened
200ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry
Preheat the oven to 180c. Chop the carrot, onion and celery into smallish chunks and scatter over the base of the roasting tray with the garlic cloves. Wash the birds and pat them dry. Stuff with 1/2 an orange each, the thyme and the bay leaves. Rub the skin with paprika and lay the rashers of bacon over the breast and rub some butter into the legs. Place the birds on top of the veg and pour the sherry into the roasting dish, add about 150ml water and put in the oven to roast for one hour.
Remove the birds from the oven, place on a carving tray and cover with foil. To make the gravy, get a potato masher and mash all the veg into the liquid in the tray. Push this through a sieve into a clean pan, put it over a high flame and reduce down by 2/3rds.
1 red pepper
180g puy lentils
2 garlic cloves, squashed
8 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
Start by chargrilling the red pepper. Do this over the flame of a gas hob, turning until it has blackened on each side, or under a hot grill. Once it’s completely charred, place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave for about 15minutes.
Wash the lentils and then put in a medium pan with the garlic, thyme and bay. Cover with water, bring up to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, strain off any excess water and remove the bay and any twiggy bits of thyme.
Peel the pepper and then in a sieve over the lentil pan remove the stalk and seeds, allowing any liquid from inside the pepper to get mixed in with the lentils. Slice the pepper and stir through the lentil mixture.
When ready to serve, reheat the lentils with the sherry vinegar and a splash of the extra virgin olive oil, season to taste.
knob of butter and olive oil
300g swiss chard, chopped
75g cooked chestnuts, chopped
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan or wok. Add the chard, chestnuts and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Carve the pheasant and plate it all up with the gravy in a jug on the side.
Remove the orange halves from the pheasant carcasses and place them in the pan along with the thyme and bay. Add one large chopped carrot, 2 sticks of celery, 2 halved shallots, 8 peppercorns and 4 juniper berries. Bring up to the boil, turn down to a simmer and let bubble away for 2 1/2 hours – skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Strain, allow to cool and store in the fridge or freezer.
Pheasant and Crab Apple Sandwich
Make a simple sandwich with pheasant breast, tomatoes, salt, pepper, lettuce and some crab apple jelly.