Tuesday 23 January 2018

Pheasant casserole with Chorizo, Cream and Thyme (Serves 3-4)

LUXURIOUS comfort food for a cold day, this casserole is intensely flavoured, with a lovely warm kick from the chorizo sausage.

Serve over Creamy Polenta.


1 tbsp olive oil

350g (12oz) chorizo, cut into slices 8mm (3/8in) thick

275g (10oz) onions, peeled and cut into wedges, or baby onions, peeled and cut in half

1 pheasant, cut into portions, still on the bone

Salt and ground black pepper

4 sprigs of thyme

1 tsp chopped thyme leaves

150ml (5fl oz) chicken stock

125ml (41/2fl oz) double or regular cream

4 tsp roux (made with 2 tsp butter and 2 tsp flour)

Medium-sized casserole dish or ovenproof saucepan with a lid

1> Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F), gas mark 2.

2> Place a casserole dish or ovenproof saucepan on a medium heat, pour in the olive oil, then add the chorizo and onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the oils from the chorizo have drained into the dish and the onions are slightly golden. Remove the chorizo and onions and set aside, leaving the oils in the pot.

3> Add the pheasant pieces to the casserole dish or saucepan and fry for about 5 minutes or until golden on both sides, being careful not to burn the pot, then season with salt and pepper. Drain any excess oils from the dish or pan, then add the cooked chorizo and onions, along with the thyme sprigs and the stock.

4> Bring to simmering point on top of the stove, then place in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. The cooking time will depend on how long the pheasant pieces were sauteed.

5> When the casserole is cooked, scoop out the pheasant, onions and chorizo and thyme sprigs. Strain off the cooking liquid and return the meat, onions and thyme sprigs to the pot. Degrease the cooking liquid and pour into a separate saucepan, then add the cream,bring to the boil and boil,uncovered, for about 4 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the chopped thyme and taste for seasoning, then pour back over the meat, onions and thyme sprigs in the casserole. Serve bubbling hot.

Polenta (Serves 2–4)

Salt and ground black pepper

100g (3 1/2 oz) medium or coarse polenta

25g (1oz) butter

50g (2oz) Parmesan or Parmesan-style cheese, finely grated

1> Place 800ml (1 pint 9floz) of water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta, whisking constantly, then bring back up to the boil and as soon as it begins to bubble, turn the heat down as low as possible. Cook for 30–40 minutes, stirring very frequently (this time with a wooden spoon). The polenta is cooked when it is very thick and porridge-like; the fine grains should be fully softened, not al dente.

2> Stir in the butter, grated Parmesan and season generously with pepper, adding a little more salt if necessary.

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