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Pheasant in a Normandy Style - Recipe

An easy dish to cook, the number of helpings per bird will depend on whether it's a cock or a hen. You might get scant 4 helpings from a largish cock, perhaps only a generous 2 from a hen.
Hen's are often more tender and need perhaps ten minutes less cooking. Here we are giving directions for one cock bird, but it's easy to expand on this.
Four men might easily manage twice this quantity - if serving as the day's main meal.

Ingredients

For 4 smallish helpings:

1 cock pheasant, cut into 4 pieces with game scissors (possibly your butcher could do this for you)
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
30g/1 oz Butter
1 medium Onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 crisp dessert Apples, cored & sliced
2 tablespoons (30ml) Calvados – slightly warmed
250ml/9 fl oz Chicken or Pheasant Stock
250ml/9 fl oz Dry Cider
1 teaspoon (5ml) Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon /5 ml Cornflour – dissolved in a little cold water.
200ml/7 fl oz Double Cream
Salt and a little Black Pepper

Method

1. Melt half the butter and the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat – then quickly brown the pheasant all over.
2. Transfer the bird to an ovenproof casserole with a close-fitting lid, leaving the butter and oil behind.
3. Reduce the heat to low, and sweat the chopped onion until it's translucent (about 5 minutes) – add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer the onion mixture to the casserole – again keeping back as much fat as possible.
4. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
5. Put the remaining butter into the pheasant cavity.
6. Pour the Calvados over the pheasant and carefully ignite with a match, being careful to stand back.
7. When the flames are out, add the cider, stock and herbs – cover the casserole, and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
8. Whilst the pheasant is cooking, re-heat the frying pan fat over a medium heat, and fry the apple sections until they take on a little colour on all sides. Remove them from the pan and set aside, still keeping the frying pan residual oil & the pan unwashed.
9. When the birds cooking time is up, remove the casserole from the oven, and remove the pheasant, covering it with tin foil and allow it to rest.
10. Replace the frying pan over a low heat, and add a little liquid from the casserole. Then deglaze the pan by scratching up any caramelised residue.
11. Add the dissolved cornflour, followed by the remaining casserole contents and mix well.
12. The liquid will thicken a little as it heats through.
13. Add the cream and season with salt & pepper to taste.
14. Cut the pheasant into four pieces – each leg and thigh making a piece, each breast another.
15. Add these to the sauce with the apple segments to heat through.

Serve – possibly with buttery mashed potatoes to soak up the juices.

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