Christmas recipe serves: 6 calories per serving: 490 preparation time: 30 minutes cooking time: 2 hours 15 minutes suitable for freezing (after step 4) Christmas recipe ingredients: * shallots or small onions, 225 g (8oz) * streaky bacon, rindless 225 g (8 oz) * pheasants, oven ready, brace * salt and pepper * oil, 30 ml (2 tbsp) * butter, 50 g (2 oz) * garlic cloves, 2 * Madeira, 300 ml (10 fl oz) * beef stock, 600 ml (1 pint) * thyme, fresh (sprig) or dried (pinch) * bay leaves, 2 * juniper berries, 6 * orange, pared rind and juice from 1 * recurrant jelly, 90 (ml) (6 tbsp) * chestnuts, peeled 225 g (8 oz), canned, frozen or vacuum-packed) * garnish, thyme (fresh) Christmas recipe instructions: 1. Remove the backbone and knuckles from the pheasants and cut into four pieces each. Season with salt and pepper. Cut up some bacon and peel the shallots. 2. Brown the shallots and bacon in the butter and oil and put to one side.
Add the pheasant, two pieces at a time and fry until golden. Then reome the pheasant and put to one side. 3. Add crushed garlic to the casserole dish along with the stock, thyme, juniper berries, bay leaves, the pared orange rind and half the Madeira. Heat to boiling and add the pheasant.
Cover and cook at gas mark 3 (170 degrees centigrade, 325 F) for 60 minutes. 4. Add the redcurrant jelly, bacon and shallots. Cook for an additional 45 minutes or until the pheasant is tender. 5.
Prepare the marinade by soaking the cranberries and chestnuts in the remaing Madeira and orange juice for 30 minutes. 6. From the casserole, remove the bacon, vegetables and pheasant and keep warm.
Reduce the remaining liquid till it is syrup like. Add the marinade from step 5 and simmer for 5 minutes more. 7.
To serve, season and pour the sauce over the pheasant, bacon and vegetables. Garnish with fresh thyme. .
By: Paul Curran