“This is a delicious dish. The sprouts are quartered which stops them being overcooked and brown, or worse, undercooked and crisp. I use vac pac chestnuts as they are good, tasty and easy to use. If you have time on your hands, roast whole chestnuts on an open fire. The addition of orange and thyme gives a sense of Christmas. Just be careful not to overcook the meat as it can easily become dry and tough.”
Prep time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes
1 breast of pheasant, skin on
1 tablespoon of chestnuts, halved
1 tablespoon of bacon lardons, cut chunky
1 teaspoon of chopped orange zest and thyme
3 or 4 sprouts
1 tablespoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil
A knob of butter
Good salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 220°C / Gas Mark 7
Cut the sprouts into quarters and blanch in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water.
Heat the oil to medium heat in a large, oven-proof frying pan and add the pheasant skin-side-down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and continue to cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the bacon lardons to the pan and cook until golden. This should take 4 to 5 minutes whilst the pheasant is cooking.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and add the butter, chestnuts, zest of orange and thyme, and sprouts and give the pan a toss to combine everything.
Remove the pheasant and let it rest for a few minutes in a warm place before giving it a final season.
To serve, arrange the garnish around the pheasant on a warm plate and serve with gravy if you like, or a cream and tarragon sauce would work too.