Pheasant with Damson Plum Jelly Jus

  • 1 pheasant – cut down into breasts and legs with skin on
  • 4 slices of pancetta (fattier slices are better)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Game Stock

  • Pheasant carcass
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of salt

Damson Jus

Begin by making your stock, break down your carcass by cutting through the back and through the wing joints with a sharp knife. Place stock ingredients into a pan and just cover with cold water. Bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer. Leave to simmer away for 45 mins or until the remaining flesh has come away from the carcass (by giving the pot a stir from time to time, you will see it begin to separate).

Strain off the liquid and reserve.

Remove any obvious yellow fat from your pheasant breasts and legs as this can be quite bitter. Season the breasts and legs with pepper and a little salt and wrap in the pancetta slices.

Heat a little oil in a pan and sear the meat on all sides before placing in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes to cook through. During cooking, baste the meat with the fat from the cooking pancetta, this will help keep the meat beautifully moist.

Check at 10 minutes to make sure the pheasant is cooked - you can pierce the meat with a sharp knife and check to see if the juices run clear. If the juices are pink, pop the pheasant back in for a couple of minutes only. When the pheasant is ready, take out of the oven and leave in a warm spot to rest.

Whilst the pheasant is resting, make your jus. Add the red wine to the pan used to sear the meat, scratching up any pan juices from the pheasant. Pour in the reserved game stock, Damson Plum Jelly and garlic. Stir over quite a high heat to blend everything together.

Served with a herby mash, spinach and drizzled with the jus is unbelievably good for a quick supper on a winters night. Serves 2.

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