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Autumn Barossa Pheasant

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1 pheasant
100 g (4 oz) butter
450 g (1 lb) fresh baby beetroot, peeled and par-boiled for 10 minutes, then halved or quartered depending on size
6 shallots, finely chopped
25 g (1 oz) plain flour
12 juniper berries, crushed
3-4 tablespoons strong red wine
2 tablespoons chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
325 g (12 oz) ceps (wild mushrooms, also known as boletus) -or use field mushrooms
Fresh noodles or pasta, to serve


Serves: 4


Rub half the butter over the pheasant and roast the bird, breast-side down, in a roasting tin in a preheated oven, 200°C / 400°F (gas mark 6), for about half an hour.

Remove from the oven, put the par-boiled beets round the bird so that they can roast like little potatoes and then roast for a further 30-40 minutes, until tender.

Strain about 150 ml (5 fl oz) pheasant stock from the roasting pan and return the pheasant, with the beets, to a low oven to keep warm.

Melt half the remaining butter in a pan and fry the shallots for 4-5 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the heat, stir in the flour, and then cook over a low heat for 1 minute.

Add the pheasant stock, crushed juniper berries, red wine and chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Boil away until the gravy has reduced by half: you should now have thick, rich gravy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and strain into a sauceboat.

Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and sauté the ceps or mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Carve or joint the pheasant and serve with the roast beets, ceps and rich gravy, with a bowl of buttered noodles or pasta of your choice.

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