Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Season the bird. Add a knob of the softened butter to a heavy casserole dish, add the mirepoix of vegetables and lay the birds on top. Cover with the stock and cook for about 2½ hours until the flesh is starting to come away from the bone.
Remove the birds from the dish retaining the cooking liquor, allow to cool a little, then strip the meat from the bone, shredding into small pieces. Alternatively use a food processor on ‘pulse’ to achieve the same effect. Mix the remaining softened butter, chopped cornichons, nuts, nutmeg and brandy along with a little of the cooking liquor, check the seasoning and adjust, as necessary. Spoon the mixture into small kilner jars, ramekins or glasses, then refrigerate. After a little time in the fridge, pour over the clarified butter and leave to set.
To Make the Rustic Bread Toasts
A smoked bacon brioche or rye bread goes well with this potted pheasant.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine together, stirring for around 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove for approximately 20 minutes. Roll and place into a greased 25cm loaf tin, and brush the top with the eggwash. Allow to prove again in a warm place, covered with clingfilm, then place into the preheated oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes. To check that the brioche is cooked, tap on the bottom of the tin and the sound should be ‘hollow’. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.
Serve with warm toasts and a little pile of cornichons.