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Roast Pheasant With Apples

If you don't have a large number of people to feed at Christmas, or if you just fancy a change from turkey, pheasant is a good alternative. It's got lots of flavour and - as long as it isn't too high,not that greasy a texture. It's easy to cook and has lots of meat on it, unlike duck. A cock pheasant should feed four and a hen two or three. You can, of course, make delicious pheasant casseroles, but I think the festive season needs a festive roast. Make sure it's been properly hung, about 3 days, and do pre-heat the oven: speed is of the essence.

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1 pheasant
cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butter paper
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp double cream


1. Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF/210°C/190°C Fan/Gas Mark 7. Stuff the cleaned pheasant with the apple pieces and thyme. Season the pheasant and place a wrap of butter paper over the top. Put in a casserole and cook for 1 hour (removing the butter paper before the last 10 minutes of cooking).

2. Take the apple pieces out of the pheasant and put them into a saucepan with the juices from the casserole dish. Add the redcurrant jelly and double cream to the apple mixture. Heat the sauce while stirring until well blended, thick and creamy (you may want to use a blender for smoothness). Place the pheasant on a dish and carefully spoon the sauce around the edges before serving. As an alternative, the sauce can be served in a gravy boat.

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