This is a sumptuous way of preparing pheasant. It also makes the birds go quite a long way due to the richness of the sauce and the fact that it arrives fully prepared at table so there is no waste from badly carved carcasses.
Peel and core the apples, slice into rings and fry in
Melt the rest of the butter in a flameproof casserole large enough to take the birds. Brown the creatures on all sides, turning and coating with the butter. Cover with the lid and place in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 to cook for 40 minutes; or you can cook them on top of the stove, turning at half time.
Carve the birds into good-size pieces and lay them in a shallow gratin dish. Make sure to pick every little piece of meat from the bones. Place the legs at either end. Keep warm. Scrape any morsels from the carving into the casserole juices and heat until bubbling, then pour in the warmed Calvados. Set fire to the mixture, but take care not to singe your eyelashes. Roll the juices round and round until the flames subside. Add the cream and continue cooking, stirring the while with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens. Season to taste.
Place the apple rings over the pheasant pieces, then pour the sauce over the whole dish and bring to table. If you prefer, you can serve the apple rings separately. Wild rice with fried celery would be excellent with this dish, and a watercress salad should suffice.
© 1996 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.