Pheasant with Apple and Chestnut

A classic combination for autumn and winter, with the apple helping to prevent the pheasant from drying out.

Serves 4

  • 2 pheasants
  • 2 tbsp seasoned plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions (about 500g), quartered
  • 2 leeks (about 600g), finely sliced
  • 10g sprigs of thyme, a couple kept back for garnish
  • 200g chestnuts (cooked, vacuum-packed)
  • 2 apples, cored and quartered (not Bramley)
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 200ml apple juice, home-pressed or cloudy

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Roll the birds in the seasoned flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a hob-proof casserole dish, and gently fry the pheasants until golden brown all over. Take the birds out of the pot and put to one side.

Add the remaining olive oil, the onion, leek and most of the thyme, and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the chestnuts, and pour in the stock and apple juice.

Place the pheasants on top of the onion and leek mixture, breast-side down. Put on the lid, and cook in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes (40 minutes for a smaller hen pheasant).

Turn the pheasants to breast-side up and add the apple. Cook for a further 45 minutes (or 40 minutes for a smaller hen pheasant), with the lid off for the last 15 minutes.

Pull out the thyme stalks. Taste the juices and season with a little salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining thyme leaves 106 picked from their stalks.

This recipe originally appeared in Good Good Food.