This is an excellent method of cooking a large pheasant. Garnished with cranberry crescents and served with a Pomerol wine, It will make a superb dinner party dish.
1 3/4 hours
1 large pheasant, cut into 4 portions
50 g / 2 oz butter
15 ml / 1 tbs oil
100 g / 4 oz streaky bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
600 ml / 1 pt red wine
2 bay leaves
1 bouquet garni
5 ml / 1 tsp dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper
250 g / 8 oz frozen puff pastry, defrosted
15-30 ml / 1-2 tbs cranberry sauce beaten egg glaze
beurre manie, made by blending
25 g / 1 oz flour with 25 g / 1 oz butter
15 ml / 1 tbs freshly chopped parsley to garnish
1- Heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas 4. Heat half the butter and the oil in a frying-pan over moderate heat, add the chopped bacon and cook until lightly browned, Transfer with a slotted spoon to a flameproof casserole.
2- Add the chopped onion and celery to the frying-pan, and cook over gentle heat until golden brown, then transfer to the casserole. Add the remaining butter to the frying-pan, add the pheasant joints and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer to the casserole.
3- Pour the wine over the pheasant in the casserole, Bring to the boil on top of the stove, and add the bay leaves, bouquet garni, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, Cover, place in the center of the oven and cook for 1 hour.
4- Meanwhile, roll out the pastry thinly, Cut into rounds with a 7.5 cm / 3 in fluted cutter, Moisten the edges with water, Place 2.5 ml / 1/2 tsp cranberry sauce in the center of each round, then fold over the pastry to make crescent, Lift the crescents on to a greased baking sheet, brush with the egg glaze and refrigerate until needed.
5- Remove the casserole from the oven, increase the temperature to 220 C / 425 F / gas 7. Place the crescents on the top shelf and cook for 12 minutes.
6- Transfer the pheasant joints to a serving dish and keep warm. Remove the bay leaves and bouqet garni from the casserole. Place the casserole over moderate heat, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the beurre manie a little at a time, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Spoon the sauce over the pheasant, sprinkle with chopped parsley and surround with the crescents.
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