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Pheasant Casserole

Serves: 4
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Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pheasant breast fillets
  • 3 x dessert apples, such as Cox's
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x celery hearts
  • Orange zest
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 425ml chicken stock
  • 85 g walnut halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 carrots sliced into chunks
  • 450g peeled potatoes
  • 2 large parsnips cut into chunks
  • 100 ml semi-skimmed milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cook the pheasant fillets over a high heat for 1–2 minutes, turning them brown on both sides.
  2. Add your onion to the casserole, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Peel and dice 2 of the apples and add to the casserole (keep the third apple to garnish). Add the celery into the casserole, cut it across in half, then add to the casserole with the orange zest and juice, juniper berries, stock and walnuts. Season lightly and bring to the boil over a moderate heat.
  3. Return the pheasant fillets to the casserole, tucking them under the celery. Cover tightly and put in the oven to cook for about 20–25 minutes. The celery should still be quite firm. Do not overcook or the pheasant will become dry and the celery too soft.
  4. Prepare the mash. Put the vegetables in a large saucepan and pour in just enough boiling water to cover. Add salt to taste and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Drain the vegetables, pour the milk into a pan and place over a high heat. When the milk is hot, remove from the heat and return the vegetables to the pan. Mash the vegetables with the milk and seasoning to taste until smooth. Cover the pan to keep the mash hot while you finish the casserole.
  6. Use a draining spoon to transfer the pheasant, celery, apples and walnuts to a warm dish. Cover and keep hot. Discard the orange zest, then bring the cooking liquid to the boil over a high heat. Boil hard for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and slightly syrupy in consistency.
  7. Meanwhile, quarter and core the apple for the garnish, then cut it into slices. Divide the mash among 4 plates and top with the celery, apples and walnuts. Slice the pheasant and place on the celery. Make sure the sauce seasoned, then pour it over the pheasant and celery. Garnish with the apples.
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