Pheasant with caramelised apples, chestnuts and cider gravy
Why not give this seasonal supper from celebrity chef Nick Nairn a try...
4 pheasant breasts (skinned and boned)
8 pancetta (or bacon) slices
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 small green apples (peeled and cored)
2 teaspoons icing sugar
16 cooked chestnuts (fresh, tinned or vacuum packed)
300ml dry cider
300ml game or chicken stock
200ml double cream
2 tablespoons chopped chervil or parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
40g unsalted butter
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
This makes a lovely seasonal supper. The trick with pheasant though, is not to overcook it, otherwise it dries out – wrapping it in pancetta or bacon helps with this.
Season the pheasant breasts with salt and pepper and wrap each neatly in a couple of pancetta slices, finishing with the end tucked underneath.
Heat a large frying pan until nice and hot, then add the sunflower oil. Place the pheasant breasts into the pan on what was the skin side and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn them over and cook again for another 2 minutes. Add half the butter to the pan, let it foam up and baste the breasts. Lift them out of the pan and keep on a warmed plate.
Quarter the peeled and cored apples. Add the rest of the butter and the apples to the pan, then sprinkle over the icing sugar and gently fry for 3-4 minutes until browned and glazed. Now add the chestnuts to the pan. Turn up the heat slightly and stir until the chestnuts are coated with butter. Add the cider and boil hard to reduce until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the stock and reduce again by about two thirds. Add the cream and bring it back to the boil.
Return the pheasant breasts to the pan. Warm everything through for 2-3 minutes. Add most of the chervil or parsley, then taste and season, adding a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately on warmed plates, with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.