This week our Christmas menus at The Guildford Arms and Inside Restaurant really get into full swing. For game lovers we have pheasant, partridge and grouse on the menu. These are roasted and served with with simple garnishes, such as braised red cabbage, duck fat roast potatoes and a gravy made from the cooking juices. We also have a starter at Inside of pheasant pithivier; a rich stew of pheasant cooked inside buttery puff pastry and served with girolles.
Downstairs at The Guildford Arms we are serving roast pheasant with Puy lentils and roast parsnips. Cooking pheasant successfully does require a little care as the breast meat, which is delicate and light, requires a different cooking time from the tougher leg meat. To remedy this we will be roasting the crown and braising the legs. Before roasting we remove the breastbone, as this makes carving a lot easier. After roasting, we cover and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving. This resting time is very important as the residual heat gently completes the cooking process without overcooking and drying the meat. It also relaxes the flesh, making it tender and juicy.
Roast & braised pheasant with Port jus – serves 4
- Ask your butcher to remove and joint the legs. Heat a little oil in a large pot, season the legs and brown them all over. Add some chopped onion, carrot, garlic and thyme. Pour in a glass of red wine and cover with water or stock. Simmer for about an hour.
- Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil with 50g of butter in a large ovenproof pan. Season the crown and cook on either side until it is golden brown. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for about 15 minutes, basting every 5 minutes. Remove the pheasant, poor off the oven juices, cover, and rest in a warm place before carving.
- Reduce a glass of port to a syrup in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Pass the braising liquid and roasting juices through a fine sieve and add to the port. Add a sprig of thyme and boil until it thickens to a sauce consistency.