Thursday, November 26, 2009




  • 2 pheasants or 2 ducks
  • 20g butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon
  • 500ml red wine
  • 300ml good chicken stock
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Small piece orange peel or ½ papaya, de-seeded and chopped
  • 10g dark chocolate, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 175ÂșC/Gas 4.

2. Cut each pheasant or duck into 4 pieces. Melt the butter in a casserole dish and brown the pheasant or duck pieces lightly; you might have to do this in 2 batches. Remove the meat and add the chopped onions with a good pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft and brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Chop the carrots, celery, garlic and bacon, then add to the casserole and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a good splash of wine to deglaze the casserole, scraping up any bits stuck on the base.

4. Return the meat to the casserole along with the remainder of the wine and the chicken stock. Heat through, then add the juniper berries, clove, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and orange peel or papaya. Put the lid on and transfer to the oven for about 1¼ hours, or until the meat is cooked.

5. If you prefer an even richer, thicker sauce, pour off half the liquid into another pan and reduce briskly before returning to the casserole dish. Lastly add the grated chocolate, stirring in thoroughly, tasting as you go. You might want to add a little more! For a touch of South America, add a teaspoon of mild chilli sauce or a tablespoon of papaya jam with the stock.

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