Pot Roast Pheasant with Fenland Celery, White Wine & Fennel Seeds
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, peeled & cut in half
4 large sticks Fenland celery, each cut into 3, plus a few leaves
3 fat cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle & mortar
500ml white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Over a medium high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish large enough to fit both pheasants snuggly. When it is foaming, add one of the pheasants and fry until crisp and golden all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the other bird, also transferring in to a plate.
Reduce the heat to a minimum, add the shallots and cook for around 10 minutes or so until they are soft and translucent. Add the Fenland celery (reserving the leaves), garlic and fennel seeds, stirring well to coat in the buttery juices. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour in the wine, return the pheasants to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Cover with a lid or tightly fitting piece of foil and transfer to the oven. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half, until the meat from the birds in falling away from the bone.
Turn off the oven. Remove the pheasants from the pot and pulling off the legs and carving off the breast in one piece. Transfer the meat to a serving platter, cover loosely with foil and return to the oven to keep warm.
Simmer the sauce on the hob until slightly thickened, whisking briskly to emulsify it together a little. Serve the pheasant with a little sauce poured over, and the rest in a jug alongside for adding as you eat.