It is hard to roast a pheasant without reducing to sawdust because its meat is so lean. Braising the bird solves the problem and this recipe is a particularly good solution. Catharine Brown duplicates something similar in Scottish Cooking and Classic Scots Cookery. You will want an oval, enameled iron ovenpot just big enough to fit the pheasant and can only count on one serving two at most.
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- a pheasant
- 2-3 diced shallots
- about 3 oz single malt Scotch (see the Notes)
- about 5 oz chicken stock
- pinch cayenne
- salt and pepper
- another 3 oz or so whisky
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- juice of about ⅓ lemon
Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Heat the butter until bubbling in the ovenpot over medium heat and turn the pheasant in it to brown all over.
- Lift the bird from the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and cook the shallot until golden.
- Return the pheasant to the pot with the first slug of whisky and burn off its alcohol.
- Add the stock, cayenne, salt and pepper, cover the pot with a layer of foil and then its lid: You want a snug fit.
- Braise the bird in the oven until tender, usually in about 40 minutes or so.
- Split the bird into servings, cover it with the foil and keep it arm in the ‘cold’ oven while you build the sauce.
- Whisk the whisky followed by the cream and then lemon juice into the shallot stock, bring it to a hard boil and reduce it to the consistency you prefer.
- Check the seasoning and serve along with mashed potatoes and something green.
-Select something other than an iodiney peat monster for your whiskey, something ‘sweet’ and round from Speyside or the Lowlands. Bourbon will work quite as well but results, appropriately enough for bfia, Anglo-American rather than Scots food.
-If you have game stock lying about, as so many of us do, all the better.
-Browning bacon dice with the shallot does no harm.
-Brown adds crushed juniper at Step 4, which does considerable harm. We are not, after all, cooking with gin.
-If you choose to ignore the Editor’s advice and go the juniper route, you will need to strain the stock before Step 7.