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Oven-casseroled hen pheasant recipe

PUBLISHED: 11:03 04 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:04 25 March 2015

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Take advantage of Dorset's seasonal game with Lisa Osman's tasty hen pheasant casserole

In Dorset we are fortunate to be surrounded by some glorious countryside shoots and at this time of year game is plentiful. It is a good time to cook seasonal dishes while the ingredients are in abundance. This recipe is ideal for hen pheasants which have more breast meat than the cock birds. As it has a delicious sauce, this recipe is also ideal for freezing to enjoy out of season too!

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Oven-casseroled hen pheasant with dry-cured bacon, apple and Somerset brandy - Serves four

• 4 plump pheasant breasts

• 8 slices of streaky bacon – dry-cured from your local butcher

• 5 tablespoons of Somerset apple brandy

• 225ml double cream or a combination of cream and homemade chicken stock

• 25g unsalted butter

• 2 British dessert apples – we like Egremont Russet, peeled, cored & sliced.

• Seasoning – freshly ground black pepper, no salt as the bacon should be salty enough

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Cooks Notes: You will need a casserole dish with tight fitting lid or foil and a pan suitable to sear breasts. Cook in the baking (bottom right oven) of a four oven AGA or the roasting (top oven) of a two oven AGA. For conventional cooking preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F or Gas Mark 4

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Method

1 Remove any rind from the bacon and using a knife stretch the bacon rashers and wrap each breast with a rasher to encase each one completely. Secure with a cocktail stick if necessary.

2 Preheat a frying pan on the floor of the roasting oven of the AGA and transfer to the boiling plate, once hot or place on a conventional hob. Sear each breast individually allowing to brown, then remove the cocktail sticks. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 15 – 20 minutes.

3 Check that they are done. Transfer the pheasant breasts to a serving platter, allow to rest and keep warm covered with foil and on the warming plate or on a protected lid of your two oven AGA.

4 Remove any fat from the pan and deglaze the hot casserole dish on your boiling plate or hob with the Somerset apple brandy. Add the cream (or cream and stock), reduce by boiling and thicken the sauce. I find the floor of the roasting oven ideal to reduce sauces. Check for seasoning.

5 Whilst the boiling plate lid is still up, in a small pan, sauté the apple in a tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter. Keep warm.

6 Finally carve the rested pheasant breasts on the diagonal, pour over the sauce and garnish with the apple.

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