Roast pheasant with sage and juniper is a lovely flavour combination that has a distinct Italian flair.

About Pheasants

Pheasants are one of the most plentiful of Britain’s game bird species and one of the best known.  If you make an autumnal trip to the countryside you will often see the males strutting their stuff – easily identified by their distinctive long tail feathers. The season for Pheasants starts in October and runs through till February. Pheasant like all game is wild, natural and free range. Pheasant is a healthy eating  option as it is a very lean meat that is low in both fat and cholesterol.

Ingredients in the recipe below are to serve four but can easily be adapted for more or less people. Allow about 15 minutes for preparation and a further 25 minutes for cooking this pheasant bacon recipe.

Ingredients For Pheasant With Sage And Juniper

2.5 – 3 lb pheasant
3 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs sage fresh
3 shallots chopped
1 bay leaf
2 quarters lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp juniper berries lightly crushed
Salt and  freshly ground pepper
4 thin slices pancetta or bacon
6 tbsp dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock heated
2 tbsp butter at room temperature
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp brandy

Cooking Method for For Pheasant With Sage And Juniper

Wash the pheasant under cool water. Drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub the bird all over with olive oil. Pour the remaining oil, sage leaves, shallots, and bay leaf into a shallow bowl. Add in the lemon juice and juniper berries. Put the pheasant along with the lemon quarters in the bowl with the marinade.  Get a good covering of all ingredients all over the meat so the flavours are well distributed. Marinade for several hours in a cool place, turning the pheasant occasionally. When done remove the lemon.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the pheasant in a roasting pan, putting the remaining marinade to one side. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper placing the lemon quarters and bay leaf inside.

Arrange some of the sage leaves on the breast of the pheasant, and lay the pancetta or bacon over the top. Secure with string.

Spoon the remaining marinade on top of the pheasant, add the white wine to the roasting dish. Roast until tender (allow about 30 minutes per 450g. Baste frequently with the pan juices and white wine. Transfer the pheasant to a warmed serving platter, discarding the string and pancetta.

To make the sauce

Skim off any surface fat from your roasting dish and pour in the stock. Stir over moderate heat, scraping up any meat residues from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain into a saucepan.

Blend the butter to a paste with the flour. Stir into the gravy a little at a time. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring to smooth out any lumps. Remove from the heat, stir in the brandy, and serve.

This recipe is from Taste of Game pay them a visit for some more delicious game recipes