PHEASANT AND PARTRIDGE STEW
Serves 6-8 People
6 x Pheasant Breast
8 x Partridge Breast
Pinch of ground allspice
2 pints game or chicken stock
1-tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1-tablespoon redcurrant jelly
salt and pepper
For the Marinade:
4 strips of orange peel
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon juniper berries, lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
Bottle of red wine
4 tablespoons brandy
2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes
4 celery sticks, cut into 1/4 in pieces
8 oz button onions, peeled
8 oz chestnut or button mushrooms
Sprig of thyme
Cut each pheasant breast into three pieces and each partridge breast into two. Place the meat into a bowl.
For the marinade, place the orange peel, peppercorns, juniper berries and bay leaf in a saucepan. Pour on the bottle of red wine and boil until reduced by half. While the wine is reducing, the brandy can be poured over the meats and stirred well so all has been coated. Once the wine has reduced, remove from the stove and add the port. Allow to cool until just warm. Add the chopped vegetables, button onions, mushrooms and thyme to the meats and then cover with the boiled wine and port. Marinate in the fridge for 24 hours. Its is important to turn the game from time to time to achieve maximum flavour.
After 24hours, pre-heat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1. Drain the meat and vegetables from the marinade, keeping the wine to one side. Lightly part the game dry with kitchen paper. Season with salt, pepper and allspice.
Heat a frying pan with a knob of butter and fry half of the meat, sealing and colouring on all sides. Transfer the sealed meat to a braising pan. Pour a small ladle of the marinade wine into the frying pan. This will lift all residue and juices. Strain on top of the sealed meat. Wipe the pan clean with and repeat the same process, also lifting any flavours with the wine, adding all to the braising pan. Heat a frying pan with a knob of butter and fry half of the meat, sealing and colouring on all sides. Transfer the sealed meat to a braising pan. Pour a small ladle of the marinade wine into the frying pan. This will lift all residue and juices. Strain on top of the sealed meat. Wipe the pan clean with and repeat the same process, also lifting any flavours with the wine, adding all to the braising pan.
The vegetables (from the marinade) can now also be quickly fried in the pan. Add to the meats, pouring the remaining wine on top. Bring to the simmer and pour the stock on top. Return to the simmer. The stew can now be braised in the pre-heated oven, covered with a lid, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
The stew will be beautifully rich and very tender. Remove the orange peel and thyme stalks. The sauce should be of a good consistency. Strain off the sauce and bring to the simmer, skimming off any impurities. If the sauce is too thin, thicken with corn flour or arrowroot loosened with a drop of port. Check for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Warm together the red-wine vinegar and redcurrant jelly and add to the sauce. Pour the finished sauce back over the game and vegetables. The stew is now ready to serve.