Pheasant Breasts with Wild Berries and Celeriac

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Ingredients

  • 3 whole pheasant breasts; use the carcasses for the stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large mild onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 200 g (7 oz) blueberries, or bilberries
  • 2 tablespoons elderberries
  • several sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 200 g (7 oz) black pudding
  • 6 large cabbage leaves, blanched
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 mls (4 oz) fino or dry Amontillado sherry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celeriac

Method

Remove the pheasant breasts from the bone, chop the carcasses, and put in a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil. Skim the foam from the surface, and simmer. Reduce until you have about 500 mls (18 oz stock. You can prepare this the day before.

When ready to prepare the dish, which should not now take much more than 40 to 50 minutes, melt the butter, and in it gently cook the onion until soft and golden. Add half the blueberries and all of the elderberries, parsley and garlic, and once the onion is soft, add the crumbled black pudding, and mix well.

Make a pocket in the pheasant breasts, and fill with the mixture. Wrap them in the cabbage leaves, and tie with thread. Dust with the flour, and fry on all sides. Season and place in a shallow earthenware casserole dish.

Pour in the sherry and the stock, and add the bay leaf. Cook in the oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the celeriac and cut into 6 rounds. Blanch them for 10 minutes, then brush with oil or butter and cook in the top of the oven until golden brown.

To serve, put some celeriac on each plate, cut each pheasant breast in half, and place the two pieces at an angle on the celeriac, with the meat juices from the pan around it and extra berries and parsley for garnish.

You can replace the black pudding with coarse Lincolnshire or other sausage meat, crumbling and lightly frying before you add it to the stuffing. Dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries, soaked in a little brandy, can be used to replace the fresh berries, if you prefer. For a more homely version of this dish, pot-roast two whole pheasants, stuffed with the berries, herbs and sausage meat, and serve with braised cabbage and roasted celeriac chunks.

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