- TO SERVE ROASTED PHEASANT YOU WILL NEED2 pheasants (about 800-900g each), oven-ready, preferably hen pheasants
50ml rapeseed oil (or other non-scented oil)
20g unsalted butter (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
TO MAKE A PHEASANT JUS YOU WILL NEED
100ml red wine
50ml ruby port
2 crushed juniper berries
1 sprigS fresh thyme
TO MAKE BREAD SAUCE YOU WILL NEED
10g/¼oz unsalted butter
50g/1¾oz white onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cloves, crushed
2 pinches salt
10g/¼oz small bacon lardons
150ml/5fl oz full-fat milk
1 slice white bread, broken into pieces
For the roasted pheasant, use the AGA Roasting Oven or preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
On a medium heat, in a ovenproof frying pan, heat the rapeseed oil and butter (if using) until foaming.
Lay the pheasants in the pan, cook until golden-brown in colour (about 3-5 minutes) on the leg sides. Turn the pheasants onto their breast side to colour for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. To check the pheasant is correctly cooked, you can use a meat thermometer – the breast temperature for a cock pheasant should reach 63C/145F and for a hen 60C/140F. (The leg temperature should reach 80-82C/175-180F.)
When cooked, set the pheasant aside in a warm place, covered, to rest.
Spoon out the fat from the pan and add the wine, port, juniper and thyme into the roasting pan. On a high heat quickly cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by one third. Scrape the caramelised juices off the bottom of the pan to make the jus. Taste and season if necessary. Strain and reserve in a warmed jug.
For the bread sauce
In a small saucepan on a low heat gently heat the butter and fry the onion with the herbs, crushed cloves and salt for two minutes, or until soft. Add the bacon lardons and continue to cook uncovered for one minute.
Add the milk, bring to a simmer and stir in the pieces of bread until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, carve the pheasant and serve it over a mound of bread sauce with the jus poured over.