This time of year when pheasants are a plenty and my shooting friends go a shooting, we are never without a few nice pheasants just waiting to be cooked.
Twice a week I leave my front door to find two, three, sometimes four freshly shot pheasant hanging from my tree in the front garden. I don’t always know who put them there but around here my neighbours know they will be devoured and enjoyed.
Pheasant casserole is a real hunters’ stew that is great served with a simple herbed pasta or polenta. The sauce is also nice soaked up with a crusty loaf.
So get yourself a couple of pheasants and give this one a go. This is from my family cookbook and stems from one of my never known but greatly appreciated family members who brought the recipe with them from Northern Italy when the emigrated to the US. Now, it’s travelled right back to this side of the pond with me.
By the way, this recipe is great with other feathered game too.
- Pheasant Casserole
- 1 brace pheasant
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10 crushed juniper berries
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 250ml (1 cup) chicken or pheasant stock
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 30 seedless grapes – cut in half
- 140ml ( ½ cup) dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons Madeira
- Preheat your oven to 150c (300f).
- Season the birds inside and out with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place 5 crushed juniper berries in each cavity.
- In a heavy casserole or wok that has a tight lid, melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat and brown both pheasants evenly.
- Add three tablespoons of stock and one tablespoon of the brandy.
- Cover and place the pan in the oven for about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the grapes in the wine.
- About 10 minutes before the pheasants are done, remove the pan briefly from the oven and take the pheasants out.
- Add one tablespoon of butter to the cooking juices and stir in the wine and grape mixture.
- Return the birds to the pan and baste them with all the amazing juices.
- Add the Madeira and place the pan back in the oven, uncovered until the pheasants are cooked. – about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour the remaining brandy over the top and light.
- Serve with fried potatoes, pasta or polenta.