This month’s theme for Guy’s Hints & Tips was Game.
Here are Guy’s pheasant recipes and perfect accompaniments.
Stuffed pheasant breast with a thyme mousseline
A brace of pheasant
250g meat from pheasant legs, if you are a bit short make up with chicken
1 egg white
¼ pint of double cream
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
In a food processor, blitz the pheasant with the egg white until as smooth as possible, add the chopped thyme and garlic and slowly beat in the cream or use the pulse button. Add enough cream so that the mousse holds its shape, season and cook a little of the mixture in the pan just to check the seasoning.
Allow to rest for a couple of hours in the fridge. When ready to use there are a few things you can add to increase flavour or texture such as wild mushrooms, chestnuts or more herbs.
Take the breasts off the bone, keeping the wing knuckle intact and the skin on. Make an incision into the breast by the wing by running the knife through the breast to make a pocket, trying not to pierce the skin or make a hole.
Place mousseline in a piping bag and pipe enough mix into the breast cavity to fill it. Once you have filled all the breasts with the mousse you can simply seal them in a pan, add a little white wine or stock and cook them in the oven until the internal core reaches 78c, remove and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Savoy cabbage with pancetta
½ a savoy cabbage
125g smoked pancetta
2 medium carrots
1 whole shallot
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Slice the savoy cabbage across, not down, so you don’t get long hard stalky bits. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the cabbage in and cook for about 1 minute, remove and cool in iced water. When cool, squeeze out as much water as possible. Peel and cut the carrot into 1cm dice. Finely chop the shallot and cut the smoked pancetta into 1cm x 2cm strips, removing any skin.
In a pan heat a little oil add the shallot and the pancetta, then the carrot and place a lid on and gently cook until the carrot is starting to tenderise stirring occasionally then add the garlic. Finally, add the cabbage and season to taste, once the cabbage has heated through – season to taste.
Thyme and bacon rosti
2 large, floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward
1tsp chopped thyme
100g streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper
60g butter, melted
Grate the potato, add ¼ tsp salt and mix together. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes so that the salt will draw out a lot of the water. Squeeze the potato so that you get as much water out as possible.
Mix in the thyme, bacon and season with salt and pepper and mix in the melted butter.
Take four rings, 8cm across by 2cm deep and place them on a non-stick tray and fill each one with the potato mix and place in a hot oven. If they look like they are going a bit dry during cooking then drizzle a bit of oil on top of each one. Once they are golden brown, remove from the ring and serve.
Confit pheasant leg
4 pheasant legs
2tsp rock salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp juniper berries
Small bunch of thyme
500ml duck fat
10 black peppercorns
Take the pheasants legs and place in a tray. Sprinkle over ½ the rock salt and turn them over and repeat with the rest of the salt. Leave in the fridge overnight.
Wash off the salt and dry the legs, place in a casserole dish with the garlic, juniper, thyme and peppercorns. Cover with duck fat, place a lid on and put in an oven heated to 130c for 2-3 hours. Check after two hours to see how tender they are and if they are not falling apart keep cooking and check every 15 minutes.
Once cooked, place the legs in a container, strain the oil and pour over the legs. Allow to cool and this will keep in the fridge for a months as long as the meat is completely covered.
To re-heat, remove the legs from the oil and place in a pan in moderate oven to heat through and colour.
Note: Keep the oil and it can be used again but remove the berries and any meat residue from the bottom. You can use this to confit more pheasant legs and it will last a few times before it needs replacing and builds up flavour each time. Finally – use it on your roasties!
Stock for Jus
The carcase, bits of bones, wings etc
1 pint of brown chicken stock
1 stick of celery
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Thyme and bay leaves
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for two hours, keeping it topped up and strain all the bits out.
3 button mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 glasses of red wine
1 – 2 tbsp arrowroot, let down with a little cold water
Peel and slice the shallot, place in a saucepan and cook allowing it to caramelise, add the mushrooms and garlic and allow to colour a little. Pour in the red wine and reduce until its almost disappeared, now add the stock and reduce by ½ and then pass through a sieve.
Thicken with a little arrowroot, adding a little at a time, stirring as you go, season and serve.
You can finish the sauce at the end with Madeira, sauté wild mushrooms or add cream for a rich sauce, green peppercorns, chopped thyme and garlic.