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    Roast Pheasant with Pistachio Stuffing

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    Roast Pheasant with Pistachio Stuffing

    As an alternative to the mammoth turkey, a brace of pheasants is an elegant choice for Christmas lunch. In Italy, game is popular throughout the winter and is often the choice for Christmas Day. Careful timing, lots of butter and a moist stuffing all help to keep the naturally lean meat succulent.

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 45 minutes to 55 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • Pheasant
    • 2 pheasants (about 520g each)
    • 50g butter, softened
    • 6 rashers dry cure streaky bacon cut in half, rind removed
    • Pistachio stuffing
    • 15g butter
    • ½ onion
    • 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
    • 3 rashers dry cure streaky bacon chopped
    • 125g pork sausage meat
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
    • 1 tsp chopped sage
    • 100g pistachios shelled and chopped


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. For the stuffing, heat the butter in a saucepan and gently sauté the onion and leek for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add the chopped bacon and cook for another 3-4 minutes until crisp. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan, then transfer to a bowl; stir in the sausage meat, herbs and chopped pistachio nuts. Mix well and season.
    2. Prepare the pheasants by wiping the inside of the birds' cavities with kitchen paper, then divide the stuffing between the cavities. Season the outside of the birds and smear with the butter. Drape the bacon rashers over the birds; place them on a piece of foil that is large enough to enclose both pheasants. Make a parcel by bringing up the edges of the foil, leaving a hole at the top to allow the steam to escape. Place the foil parcel in a deep dish and pour 100ml water into the dish - this will help to keep the birds moist.
    3. Roast in the oven for 45–55 minutes, basting every 20 minutes. If you want to crisp up the bacon and brown the pheasants, undo the parcels of foil for the last 15 minutes. Test them as you would a chicken: if the juices run clear when the birds are pierced with a sharp knife, the pheasants are ready. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve half a pheasant per person.

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    Drinks recommendation

    The Corker recommends: a classic game dish such as this sumptuous pheasant is perfect with rich but not overly tannic reds.


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