Inspired by a conversation in his butchers' shop, this recipe was sent to us by Lord Norman Tebbit and is from his cookbook The Game Cook.
"This is my favourite way of cooking pheasant", he explains. "It is a classic casseroled dish that depends not just on the quality of the bird but also on the fruit, vegetables and other ingredients used." If you're interested in any other of Lord Tebbit's recipes, you can buy his cookbook on Amazon, here.
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 25g / 1oz butter
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 good, fat, well-hung pheasant
- 1 onion, chopped
- 115g / 4oz piece of fat belly of pork (cut into 4 pieces) OR unsmoked bacon rashers cut into 1cm pieces
- 6 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and fairly thickly sliced
- 150ml / 5fl oz double cream
- 1-2 tbsp Calvados or Cointreau
- 1-2 tbsp dry white wine
- A little ground cinnamon (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Heat the butter and oil in a pan and brown the pheasant all over. Once browned, put it in a lidded casserole dish, put on the lid and keep warm in the oven.
2. Lightly fry the onion and belly of pork in the same pan before removing and keeping warm with the pheasant. Add the apples and fry lightly until they begin to soften, then remove but keep separately from the bird, pork and onions.
3. Add the apples and cream to the casserole and the Calvados (or, if you have a sweet tooth, you can use Cointreau).
4. Take up all of the 'brown bits' sticking to the bottom of the pan with 1tbsp or so of dry white winr, or water, scraping it out as it comes to the boil, then add to the casserole.
5. If you like cinnamon, you can sprinkle some on the apples. You can also add salt and pepper.
6. Make sure the casserole lid fits tightly (if needs be put a piece of kitchen foil under it) and place in the oven for 2 hours. Top tip: you will find that when it is almost done, the legs will have begun to fall away from the body.
7. Plate and serve with the sauce from the casserole dish.