One of the few good things about the colder months in England is that it is game season. There are few things DonQui likes more to eat than game.
A trip into Southwold to the excellent Mills Brothers’ (and sisters) butchery reveals that they have some rather lovely looking locally shot hen pheasants all trussed up and ready for the over. Pausing only to decry the ridiculous new business tax hikes that threaten high street shops within giving the likes of Amazon a discount, DonQui hands over his cash and takes a pheasant home with him.
Previously DonQui has cooked his pheasants in a clay pot (Römertopf). This is because without any fat, pheasant can dry out and toughen up when roasted conventionally. Since this particular bird has been barded with bacon by the nice Mills boys, DonQui decides to try simply roasting it openly in the oven.
This is how he does it:
Taking the pheasant out of the fridge an hour before to bring it up to room temperature, he browns it on all sides in a pan in which he has melted a little butter together with rapeseed oil.
Then he pops it in the oven which has been pre-heated to 180º C and lets it roast for 30 minutes, checking in at the half way point. Meanwhile he prepares the sauce which is a variation of his rich meat sauce with the addition of a few crushed juniper berries.
Then he takes the cooked bird out of the oven and lets it rest for at least 10 minutes. Pouring off the excess oil from the roasting pan he deglazes it with red wine, scraping up the brown bits on top of the stove on a low heat and then adds this to the sauce pot.
DonQui serves it with wild rice cooked in chicken stock along with green beens, peas and a little redcurrant jelly on the side. A French Burgundy or other pinot noir wine is the perfect accompaniment.