How to make it

  • Take the pheasants out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before planned cooking time.
  • Remove the trussing string.
  • Wash the birds inside and out, and pat thoroughly dry.
  • Examine them for shot-holes and carefully extract any shot you can find.
  • The wings are generally cut off so check thoroughly for any splinters of bone at the wing stubs.
  • Pull out any remaining feather quills.
  • Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • .
  • (I find it much easier to get all the ingredients and equipment ready beforehand so the cooking is easier and I'm not 'faffing' about looking for things at the last minute. It makes for a lot of washing up though).
  • .
  • Switch the oven on to heat to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Adjust the oven shelf so that the birds will be high up in the oven.
  • Gently pinch the skin of the breasts to loosen it. Then, poke your finger gently in under the skin at both ends, to separate it altogether.
  • Carefully thread two rashers of bacon under the skin of each breast half. Make sure the bacon covers the entire breast area. Smooth the skin back into place.
  • Place each bird on a large piece of heavy duty aluminium foil.
  • Smear the birds liberally all over with butter.
  • Sprinkle them with pepper, salt, and dried thyme.
  • Into the cavity of each bird, stuff a half a lemon and a sprig of rosemary.
  • Tie the legs up loosely together with trussing string.
  • Flip the birds over so they are breast down.
  • Scrunch up the foil to seal up into ‘parcels’.
  • Place the parcels in the roasting tin (without the rack for the moment).
  • Put them in the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes to kick-start the cooking.
  • .
  • After the 20 minutes, take the tin out, and carefully swap the birds around so that the sides which were in the centre are now on the outside.
  • Adjust the shelf down so that the birds will be more or less in the centre of the oven. Turn the oven down to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5, and place the tin back in to roast for 30 minutes.
  • .
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the chicken stock and the wine together until almost boiling.
  • Put the mushrooms in a jug and pour over the hot stock/wine mixture.
  • Push the mushrooms down with a wooden spoon to keep them under the liquid.
  • Rinse and dry out the saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, cook the venison sausages in a frying pan, in a little oil. Set aside and keep warm.
  • At the 30 minutes, take the tin out of the oven.
  • .
  • Lift out the foil parcels, set them aside for a moment, and set a roasting rack in the tin.
  • Open the foil parcels and very carefully take the birds out and set them breast-up on the rack.
  • Pour the contents of the foil into the tin.
  • Lift the soaked mushrooms out of the stock with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
  • Pour the wine/stock mixture into the tin too.
  • Squeeze ½ a lemon over the birds.
  • Sprinkle a little more dried thyme and salt over the breasts.
  • If you have one, insert the ‘probe’ of a meat thermometer in between the leg and body of one of the birds (NB not touching any bone, otherwise it will give a false reading).
  • Turn the oven down to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 4.
  • Place the tin back in the oven and continue to roast for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
  • .
  • Meanwhile, chop up the soaked mushrooms very finely in a processor. Set aside.
  • .
  • In the frying pan you cooked the sausages in, add the butter and gently cook the mushrooms together with the onion, until soft (about 8 minutes).
  • After 6 minutes or so, add the garlic and keep stirring gently for a couple of minutes to bring out the flavour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • .
  • When the birds are cooked, the internal temperature should be around 75ºC/165ºF.
  • Remove the tin from the oven, and place the birds on a carving tray, and cover with foil to ‘rest’.
  • .
  • Pour the liquid from the tin into the jug, wait for it to settle, and skim off most of the fat which rises to the surface.
  • .
  • In the saucepan, melt the butter, and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Over a low heat, gradually pour in the liquid, whisking like mad, until the roux is dissolved and there are no lumps.
  • .
  • Turn up the heat a little and continue to stir vigorously until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Add the cooked onion, mushroom and garlic mixture to the sauce. Cook a few minutes more. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more wine or stock.
  • Add the redcurrant sauce and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and the parsley.
  • Remove the trussing string, and take out the lemon halves.
  • Carve the birds up.
  • Cut the sausages up into 1 inch pieces.
  • .
  • Place a portion of pheasant on each warmed plate, along with some sausage pieces. Pour over some sauce.
  • Alternatively, as pheasant breast can be a bit dry, you could put the carved pieces into the sauce and heat thoroughly.
  • Serve with plain boiled new potatoes, and steamed green vegetables of your choice.
  • Garnish with a little more chopped fresh parsley.
  • Beware of any remaining shot which may be lurking!
  • There will probably be plenty of sauce left over. I cooked some browned duck legs in the sauce the next day, but this is great to have next day with, say, some lovely beef sausages.
1. Equipment   Close
2. Pheasant!   Close
3. Ingredients all ready   Close
4. Separate the skin   Close
5. Bard the bird   Close
6. Butter and Season   Close
7. Foil parcels   Close
8. Heat stock & wine   Close
9. Soak the mushrooms   Close
10. Cook the sausages   Close
11. Chop mushrooms   Close
12. Unwrap birds, add liquid   Close
13. Cook mushrooms, onions & garlic   Close
14. Take birds out and rest them   Close
15. Lots of lovely liquid!   Close
16. Cook flour & butter   Close
17. Add liquid from tin   Close
18. Add mushroom/onion mix   Close
19. Hate this bit!   Close

People Who Like This Dish 2
Reviews & Comments 4

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  • lovebreezy 10 years ago
    Thanks and kudos on a great recipe presentation. Pictures are almost a must for me and the more the better. Your work in posting this is appreciated.
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag
  • 22566 10 years ago
    Thank-you for this great recipe,encapsulated,sending to my brother,he will like this I believe.

    Wishing you a good day.

    Kind Regards

    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag
    " It was excellent "
    quaziefly ate it and said...
    Love the presentation, details, and combined flavors of this recipe. We feel that it is a must make soon. Thank you so much for sharing! 5 forks !

    J and M
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag
    " It was excellent "
    greekgirrrl ate it and said... that's alot of work.... Sounds delicious! Great photos and directions, too.
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag

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