Pheasant Normandy recipe

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This Pheasant Normandy recipe has been adapted from Julia Drysdale’s Classic Game Cookery. It is an oldie, but definitely a goodie. Although it might be dismissed as a casserole do think again before consigning it to cookery Siberia. It is well worth trying.

The ingredients for pheasant Normandy are delicious. I found this recipe originally in Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking but this version is adapted from Julia Drysdale. The combination of apple, cider and cream with pheasant is always a winner, especially now that cider has become so popular again. It’s an oldie but a goodie and if you have a bottle of Calvados hidden in the house, a splash of that added and set alight (perfect for cooks with pyromaniac tendencies) makes it even more yummy.

Serves 4

■ 6-8 Cox’s apples
■ 2 pheasants
■ 200g (7oz) butter
■ 2 tbsp calvados if you have any
■ 1 lemon, halved
■ 2 large sprigs rosemary
■ 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon powder
■ 1⁄2-1 tsp celery salt according to your taste
■ Ground black pepper
■ 400ml (3⁄4 pint) cider
■ 4 tbsp double cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Peel, core and slice the apples into quarters. Brown pheasants all over in 100g of the butter in a flameproof, cast-iron casserole with a lid. If you are using calvados, warm it in a separate pan, pour over the birds and light it immediately. Take care to stand well back as singed eyebrows add nothing to this dish.

Now take the birds out of the pan and stuff them with the lemon halves and the sprigs of rosemary. Tip the pan juices into the cavities too, making sure none spills out; set aside. Now add the rest of the butter to the pan and fry the apples, sprinkling the cinnamon over them. When slightly softened, return the pheasants to the casserole, breast side down. Sprinkle over the celery salt and pepper, then pour over the cider and cream.

Cover and cook for 50 minutes to an hour, until done. Serve with boiled potatoes, chopped parsley and a green salad.