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Michel Roux's Pheasant in the Coq au Vin Style

Michel Roux, chef restaurateur of the Michelin starred Waterside Inn, Bray, has created these fantastic recipes for Game-to-Eat.

Serves 4

2 pheasants; remove the legs and the thighs and separate them; cut away the back bone with scissors and reserve; leave the breasts on the bone but cut evenly lengthways through the middle of the bone to separate them and make two breasts
1 litre red wine, Rhone style or a full bodied wine
150g carrots, peeled cut into chunks
200g button onions, peeled
250g button mushrooms, stalks removed, wiped
150g back bacon, cut in medium diced lardons
6 Tablespoons groundnut oil
1 bouquet garni
6 crushed juniper berries
50g butter and 50g flour cooked into a white roux
200mls chicken or veal stock
2 Tablespoons of flat parsley sprigs

Put the pheasant meat (not the backbone) in a large bowl, cover with the wine, 2 tablespoons of oil and the juniper berries. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for six hours.
Drain through a colander, into a saucepan.
Boil the wine on medium heat for 2 minutes.
Seal the pheasant meat in a very hot frying pan with the rest of the oil and reserve.
Colour the lardons in the same pan and reserve.
In a cocotte, put the pheasant legs and thighs, backbone of the pheasants and wine marinade. Bring to the boil; skim if necessary; add the bouquet garni, garlic, carrots and onions. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Add the pheasant breasts, lardons and mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Strain the juices into a saucepan, discard the bouquet garni and backbone and cover the meat and vegetables with a damp cloth and keep warm.
Add the cold roux to the cooking juices, put over heat and whisk constantly until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (4-5 minutes).
Add the pheasant and vegetables back into the sauce and simmer for 3-4 minutes until hot through.
Serve in a deep bowl or plated, scattered with the parsley and boiled potatoes and deep fried croutons (optional).

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