Fagiano al vino rosso

Pheasant…red wine….game set and match!

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The Italians love game…especially the northern folk….I love game…and I’m northern….so it is not just for the posh folk! A lot of people shy away from cooking this wonderful bird..or partridge…or quail….they are so succulent and rich…and so good for your health! And these pheasants go a long way! You will be surprised, if you have never had them, how much meat they render. One pheasant is perfect for two people. If you have never cooked them…please….please do…and they are so the right thing for this time of year.

FOR 4

2 pheasants

Fresh rosemary sprigs or a good tablespoon of dried 

2 garlic cloves peeled

60gm butter

Olive oil

3 stalks of celery cut into finger long pieces

4 long shallots cut in half lengthways

4 Chantenay or small carrots halved lengthways

150 gm of pancetta cut into pieces

6 mushrooms of choice cut into rough chunks

A bottle of decent red wine

Preheat the oven to 160c. Season the cavity of each bird with salt and black pepper and pop in half rosemary and a garlic cove into each.  

Melt the butter and about 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole pan. Brown the birds on all sides and then put to one side. Add the celery, mushrooms, pancetta and shallots to the hot oil and fry for ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour in two thirds of the wine and bring to a simmer. Pop the birds back in quite carefully, breast side down. Cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the birds over and cook for a further thirty minutes. You could quite happily leave them in the oven on a very low heat now whilst you mingle, open wine or dance with a friend.

If not….Turn off the heat, remove the birds to a warm plate and you can wither thicken the juice with flour or leave, as i did, You could also stir in some double cream if you fancy. Tis up to you.

Cut the birds in half and place on plates. I served them with creamy, mustardy mash potatoes, with the sauce and vegetables from the casserole drizzled over. 

A fabulous winter warmer of a meal. Supper by the fire. A pleasant pheasant experience!

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