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Braised pheasant with onions and celery

Braised pheasant with onions and celery

 

Braised in a sauce that is sweet, sour and fruity, the pheasant may be cooked quickly to keep the vegetables crisp, or slowly to provide a more meltingly tender result. Time and preference will dictate.


Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, or 11/2-13/4 hours

Serves 4

  • 2 hen pheasants, cut lengthways in half

  • 2 Tbsp plain flour

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil

  • 6 sticks celery, trimmed and cut into 5 cm (2 in) pieces (reserve the leaves to garnish)

  • 2 large onions, cut into 6

  • 2 large carrots, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces

  • 50 g (13/4 oz) dried cranberries

  • 4-5 large thyme sprigs

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 4 Tbsp clear honey

  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
     

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/1400F/Gas Mark 6. Dust the pheasants generously with the flour, season then brown the portions well in the oil in a large frying pan.

  2. Meanwhile, place the prepared vegetables and cranberries in a casserole dish that will take the pheasants in one layer, and bury the thyme in the vegetables. Nestle the pheasants into the vegetables.

  3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the pheasants, then cover with a lid or foil.

  4. Cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for 45 to 50 minutes, or to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 11/2 to 13/4 hours. The pheasant is cooked if the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

  5. Season the sauce to taste, then serve the pheasant on a bed of the vegetables with juices spooned over and garnished with celery leaves.

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