Pheasant with apples with celery
Fasan med äpplen och selleri
Pheasant are common in southern Sweden having originally been introduced into the country from Asia. Braising is one of the best ways of cooking them as the birds will then be really tender without becoming dry, which can happen all too easily if pheasant are roasted.
In Sweden they are particularly popular in the autumn when they are cooked with apples, an ideal partner for pheasant. You can use any apples available, including windfalls, to make the sauce, reserving your best lookers to caramalise for a garnish. John Duxbury
• For a special occasion it is worth flambéing the pheasants before braising them to give them a little more flavour.
• Pheasant thighs have numerous thin, needle-like bones, so I tend to leave picking the meat off the thighs until the meat is cold. It can then be used in sandwiches with rårörda lingon (lingonberry sauce), nypongelé (rosehip jelly) or cranberry sauce: delicious.
• When the pheasant season comes to an end in mid-February, you can use guinea fowl instead, as it also goes well with apple.
|3 tbsp||Calvados or brandy (optional)|
|2||medium-sized apples, any variety|
|1||medium-sized onion, finely sliced|
|3 sticks||celery, sliced|
|1 tbsp||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|180 ml||(¾ cup)||white wine|
|250 ml||(1 cup)||good quality chicken stock|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|1-2 tbsp||double (heavy) cream, optional|
|25 g||(¼ stick)||butter|
|2||eating apples, cored and sliced|
|2 tbsp||caster (superfine) sugar|
1. Heat the oil and one tablespoon of the butter in a frying pan and brown the birds all over until they are a nice golden colour.
2. Pour the Calvados (optional) into a small saucepan and warm it gently. Pour over the pheasants and immediately ignite it with a match. When the flames have subsided transfer the birds to a casserole.
3. Gently sauté the apples, onion and celery for 5 minutes or so in the remaining butter until softened, but not brown.
4. Stir in the flour, off the heat, and add the wine and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the sauce over the pheasants. Cover with greaseproof paper or foil and the lid and simmer on top of the stove for about 50 minutes.
6. Towards the end of the cooking time, fry the apple slices quickly in butter and dust well with caster sugar. Do this on a high heat and allow about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
7. When the birds are tender, take them out of the casserole and keep warm. Strain the sauce into a saucepan, adjust the seasoning and boil up well for 10 –15 minutes until syrupy.
8. Whisk in the cream and leave to simmer gently.
9. Carve the birds and spoon over enough sauce to coat nicely; serve the rest separately. Garnish with the caramelised apple slices.
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