Roast Pheasants with Curried Mushroom Sauce

This makes a delicious change with pheasants and the rich mushroom sauce is particularly good. It is really worth using all the different spices in the curry and they are very useful to have for all sorts of things, and for several of the dishes in this book Again, I recommend well-buttered Basmati rice with this.

Ingredients

  • 2 pheasants
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cumin
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons powdered coriander
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon and juice of 1 orange

For the Sauce

  • ½ lb mushrooms – sliced crossways (225 g)
  • butter, oil
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 large tomatoes – skinned and chopped
  • 2–3 teaspoons curry powder – to taste
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered coriander
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • juice of ½ large or 1 small lemon
  • 2 heaped tablespoons creamed coconut – you can buy this in cartons made by Mapletons – it thickens and improves the consistency of curries

Method

Put the oil, tomato purée, vinegar and all the spices into a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Brush this mixture all over the birds. Put them in a covered ovenproof dish, pour the orange juice into the dish and if possible, leave for several hours or overnight at room temperature. Then put into the middle of a moderate to low oven Gas 3 (325°F/160°C) for 1½–2 hours, basting occasionally. Meanwhile make the mushroom curry sauce to serve with the birds.

Melt a tablespoonful of olive oil with 1 oz butter (25 g) in a fairly large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes. Stir in the flour. Add a mixture of 1 tablespoon tomato purée mixed with 1 pint water (570 ml). Add all the spices and the salt and stir in the lemon juice and the creamed coconut – this melts very quickly into the hot sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring often – then simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add any curry or spices if necessary. If the sauce looks very thick add a little bit of milk. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and keep warm in a very low oven until you are ready to serve the pheasants. Put the pheasants on a carving board. I usually put a small ladle into the bowl of sauce so people can pour it over the pheasant on their plates. Serve with rice and green salad or a bright green vegetable like broccoli.