Roasted pheasants with crispy root vegetables and leeks mornay

Serve up a splendid autumnal meal with Ed Baines's flavourful recipe for roast pheasant with lashings of trimmings
By Ed Baines
Roasted pheasants with crispy root vegetables and leeks mornay
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus 20 mins infusing
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 3 pheasants
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 1 small thyme, bunch, finely chopped
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 9 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 200 ml port
  • 1 tsp redcurrant jelly

Béchamel sauce

  • 0.5 onions
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 600 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 40 g flour
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 1 pinches freshly grated nutmeg

Leeks Mornay

  • 6 leeks, cut into even lengths
  • 2 medium onions, halved
  • 85 g red leicester cheese, grated
  • 1 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Crispy root vegetables

  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced into discs
  • 225 g turnips, halved
  • 2 parsnips, cut into sixths
  • 225 g carrots, cut into sixths
  • 1 small celeriac
  • 1 Maris Piper potatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1 whole garlic, head, broken into individual unpeeled cloves
  • 250 ml olive oil
  • 4 sprig thyme, finely chopped

Method

1. First, prepare the crispy root vegetables. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. 2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. 3. Add in the sweet potato, turnip, parsnip, carrot, celeriac, potato and garlic cloves and blanch for four minutes. 4. Strain and pat dry. Place the vegetables in a roasting tin, season with salt, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves. 5. Roast the vegetables for 35 minutes, then reduce the heat to 170ºC/gas 3 and roast for a further 15 minutes. 6. Meanwhile, prepare the leeks Mornay. Place the onion half, cloves and milk in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil, then remove from heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes, then strain. 7. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute over a low heat. 8. Stir in the infused milk and add in the bay leaf and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens to a smooth, thick bechamel sauce.9. Season the sauce with the mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper and a nutmeg. 10. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add in the leeks and onions and blanch in the water for 4 minutes; drain and set aside to cool slightly. 11. Mix together the blanched leeks and onion with the béchamel sauce. 12. Mix in the cheese and the Worcestershire sauce, stirring well. 13. Pour into an ovenproof dish and bake the leeks Mornay at 180ºC/gas 4 for 30 minutes 14. To cook the pheasants, preheat the oven to 240ºC/gas 8. 15. Season the pheasants with salt and freshly ground pepper, thyme and rosemary. 16. Place the pheasants in a roasting tray and lay three rashers of bacon over each. 17. Drizzle with the olive oil and roast in the oven 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180ºC/gas 4 and continue cooking for 20 minutes more. 18. Meanwhile, place the port in a saucepan with the redcurrant jelly.  Bring to the boil and cook briskly until reduced by two-thirds. 19. Serve the roast pheasants with the crispy root vegetables, leeks Mornay, redcurrant sauce and extra redcurrant jelly.

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