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Pheasant au vin

This is a French classic with a modern slant. This rich ragout of shallots, garlic, prunes, laced with red wine, port and herbs, finished with a hit of dark chocolate, makes a divine robust sauce to serve alongside, pheasant breasts. Serve with creamed potatoes or parsnip and potato mash.
for the sauce
20g unsalted butter
8 shallots, peeled and halved
1tsp caster sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
3tsp flour
200mls chicken stock
300ml red wine
8 prunes halved
2 bay leaves
Large sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons port
15g very dark chocolate
for the pheasant
30g butter
4 pheasant breasts
200g black pudding (optional)
12 rashers Denhay streaky bacon
1. In a pan heat the butter. Add the shallots and sugar and fry for 10 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and prunes and fry for a further minute. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the red wine, stock, bay, thyme and season with black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes until syrupy and glossy. Add the port and chocolate, heat through and season to taste.

2. Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6.

3. Lay the pheasant breasts on a board and crumble over the black pudding, wrap with the bacon.

4. Heat a large frying pan add the butter and place in the pheasant breasts and cook for 2/3 minutes each side on a medium heat until really golden brown and place in a roasting tin. Place in the oven for approx. 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cover lightly with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing each breast on an angle into 2 or 3 slices.

5. To serve, spoon the sauce onto 4 large, warm soup plates and top with the sliced pheasant. Decorate with some fresh thyme sprigs and take straight to the table. Serve with your favourite vegetables.
Pheasant au vin
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