….because the lovely people that sell me the pheasants do that for me! I know it’s childish, but I can’t help but think of the tongue-twister when I speak of pheasant.
Anyway, pot-roast pheasant for dinner? On a Wednesday? I say why not?! My friend Karen raised an eyebrow when I said I was about to cook it for dinner, but this recipe looked like a cinch, and it was.
It’s from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, “27 January: a pot-roast pheasant with celery and sage”. With only 4 more ingredients than the title, it’s a quick one to whip up mid-week, I promise. I did cut a few corners in letting things brown, but I’m pretty sure it’ll still taste good.
Browning the pheasant in butter is the only cooking you have to be involved in. While that’s happening, chop garlic any way you want (or not at all), a few sticks of celery into 2cm lengths, about 10 wee potatoes in half (unless they’re absolutely tiny) and once the bird is brown, lift it onto a plate and chuck away the probably-slightly-burnt-looking butter. Add a new bit to the pan, add the vegetables and sage (Nigel suggested browning the potatoes first), toss about a bit, followed by a hefty slurp of dry vermouth, although I’m sure white wine would also be lovely. Let that bubble a bit to drive off some of the booziness, and add the pheasant back in, and pop a lid on. Whack in the oven (180c) for 35-40 minutes. Nigel then recommends you “gently split the legs away from its body”. I’m not entirely sure if that means take them off, or just let them dangle a bit by its side (I suspect dangling, just to let extra heat permeate), but I was relieved of the decision when I lifted the lid and remembered how tightly I packed the pot! So I thought I’d let it cook the extra time with the lid off to allow the legs to cook through, but ended up almost separating them from the body them, and as the juices were a little pink, cooked the bird for another 10 minutes
But even after 5-10 more minutes cooking with the legs dangling, that’s it. Dinner done, an hour and a wee bit all in.