Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking: 75 mins
Recipe by Mark Hix
Pheasant either be timed to perfection or slow cooked. Using pheasant in a soup like this, however, gets around the problem – and one bird goes a long way. You can prepare the soup base, roast the chestnuts and get everything together the day before, ready to reheat and assemble everything just before serving.
1 oven-ready pheasant
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
A few sprigs of thyme
2 litres chicken stock (or 2 good stock cubes dissolved in the same amount of hot water)
A glass of white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g plain flour
16–18 fresh chestnuts in the shell
2–3 tablespoons double cream
150g chanterelles, cleaned
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Cut the legs from the pheasant using a sharp knife, then carefully remove the breasts. Place the legs, breasts and carcass in a cooking pot with the onion, leek, thyme, chicken stock and wine. Season lightly, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Take out the pheasant breasts and set aside on a plate. Continue to simmer the soup for a further 20 minutes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the ﬂour over a low heat. Whisk the ﬂour and butter mixture into the simmering soup in pieces to thicken it, then continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Score the chestnuts and place on a small baking tray. Cover with foil and bake for about 12–15 minutes, then remove to a plate and leave until cool enough to handle. Peel away the skins and cut each chestnut into two or three pieces.
Strain the soup through a ﬁne sieve into a clean saucepan and add the cream. Remove the pheasant meat from the legs and cut the breast into bite-sized pieces. Add to the soup with the chestnuts, chanterelles and chopped parsley. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve.