Pheasant Casserole with Apples

This is quite a  rich dish and ideal for a dinner party. It is simply delicious.  If pheasants are not in season, frozen ones can be used.

 
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS (FOR 4)
  • 2 small plump pheasants
  • 4fl oz (120ml) cream
  • 2oz (50g) butter
  • 2oz sugar
  • 6 fl oz (175ml) dry cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 level spoonfuls flour
  • 2 dessert apple for garnish
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 tablespoon oil
METHOD
Joint the pheasants, removing the legs and separate the 2 breast sections down along the backbone.  Put the carcuss into a pan together with the bay leaf salt, and black pepper.  Cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes. Peel and slice the onion. Cut the leafy part off the celery and cut into small pieces. Peel, core and chop the cooking apples.
Coat the pheasant joints with a little flour, heat the butter in a heavy based pan and fry the pheasant over high heat until they are golden brown all over. Remove from the pan.  Lower the heat and fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes.  Add the apples and fry for another 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining flour to absorb all the fat.  Gradually blend in the cider and ½ pint of stock, bring the sauce to simmering point over a low heat, stirring continuously.  Put the pheasant back into the casserole, and if necessary add more stock to the sauce so it covers the joints.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper and cover with a lid.
Cook the casserole in the centre of a pre-heated oven gas mark 3 (325F 180C) for 45 minutes or until tender.  Remove the pheasant onto a warm dish.  Now bring the liquid to the boil on top of the  stove and stir in the cream.  Return the pheasant joints to the sauce and serve straight from the casserole.  Serve with potatoes and vegtables.