Pot-roasted pheasant

Phil Howard packs his pot-roasted pheasant with root vegetables, chestnuts and a splash of sherry, with a freshly made bread crust on top
Pot-roasted pheasant
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus 1½ hrs resting
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500 ml warm water
  • 55 g fresh yeast
  • 1 kg strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 25 g salt
  • 75 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

For the casserole

  • 2 pheasant, trussed with bacon
  • 50 g duck fat
  • 1 carrot, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 parsnip, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ celeriac, cut into 8 pieces
  • ½ swede, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 turnip, cut into 8 pieces
  • 8 button onions, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 chestnuts, peeled
  • 100 ml medium dry sherry
  • 200 ml dark chicken stock

Tips and Suggestions

Ask your butcher or game dealer to truss the pheasants with bacon for you.

Method

1. For the dough: in a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, add the yeast and leave to stand for 20 minutes.

2. Place the flour in the bowl of a food mixer, add the salt, olive oil and yeasty water and, using the dough hook, knead to a smooth elastic dough this will take 3-4 minutes. If you do this by hand you will have to knead the dough for at least 5 minutes.

3. Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in volume.

4. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Knock the air out of the dough, turn it onto the floured surface and briefly knead by hand. Return to the bowl and place in the fridge.

5. For the casserole: heat a large casserole over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Season the pheasants with salt and pepper, add the duck fat to the pot and lightly brown the birds on all sides. Remove and set aside.

6. Add the carrot, parsnip, celeriac, swede, turnip and onions to the casserole and fry until golden brown. Add the bay leaf, chestnuts, sherry and chicken stock. Return the pheasants to the casserole and take off the heat. Wipe the rim of the pot clean with a damp cloth.

7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a long sausage shape, so that it can wrap around the entire casserole. Press the dough gently around the rim and, while supporting the dough, place the lid on top. Make sure it is tightly sealed.

8. Place the casserole in a warm place for 30 minutes for the dough to prove. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

9. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the casserole from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

10. Break the lid open, lift out the birds and remove the breasts and legs from the bone. Set the meat and vegetables aside, keeping them warm.

11. Place the casserole over a medium heat and boil until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.

12. Carefully spoon some of the vegetables and some sauce onto each of four serving plates and finish with a breast and leg of pheasant per person. Serve a chunk of the bread crust on the side.

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