Good food doesn't have to be difficult…
We are now well into shooting season and if you are lucky enough to come across some of the rich produce the British countryside has to offer then you are in for a real treat! I was lucky enough to return home couple of nights back to find a brace of Pheasants hanging outside my backdoor, kindly dropped off by a friend who is a keen shot.
The next question though was what to do with these birds? To roast or not to roast? That indeed was the question. In the end I decided not to roast as you can probably see by the title of this post. So once the birds had been plucked and deboned it was down to the finer points of what exactly to do. At first my thinking was a red wine reduction to go with the gamey flavours. A sweet sauce always works well with game from the mighty venison down to the smallest partridge sweetness works. That plan was unfortunately shelved due to a lack of red wine in the house (which I have to admit is a touch unusual).
The question of what to put with the Pheasant was answered by a short trip to the fridge to survey what was ‘in stock’ it turned out that there was two rather soft Swedes and a sweet potato that had seen better days. But once they were peeled you would never know, I also had in the vegetable tray some wonderfully fresh sprouting broccoli from the local store. I love Sprouting broccoli I feel It looks a lot nicer on the plate than the standard green ‘trees’. So the stage was set, for my Pan seared Pheasant Breast in a Sherry Cream Sauce with Swede and Sweet Potato Mash and Purple Sprouting Broccoli you will need:
To start off, get your vegetables done and out of the way. Chop the Swede and sweet potato into cubes and boil until they mash when pressed against the side of the pan with a fork. Once you’ve mashed them together season the mash with some rock salt, fresh ground black pepper, some butter and a pinch of nutmeg, then set aside. Next clean the sprouting broccoli and then place that into a steamer ready for later. Using a mandolin with the crinkle cut setting, cut the potato and shallow fry in some oil until they are a lovely golden colour place on some kitchen towel and set aside for later. Now onto the Pheasant itself, cut each breast in half and season with a little salt and pepper. In the meantime heat some oil in a heavy bottomed skillet pan and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are softened but not coloured. In the same pan brown off the breast pieces and the legs then set aside for later. In fact I transferred the legs to a roasting dish and roasted them for around 10-15 minutes. Next into the pan add the mushrooms and the whiskey, be sure to turn the heat up at this point to burn off the alcohol, cook for a little while and then add the sherry, chicken stock and a little knob of butter and cook for as further 5 minutes to reduce the liquids and intensify the flavours. Finally add the cream and pheasant breast pieces back into the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes, re-heat the mash and steam your broccoli and then you’re ready to plate up and enjoy!