Pheasant Breast, Lentils and Bacon Recipe

A few years back, River cottage came out with a book called Three Little Things.

The simplicity of the concept was great. The idea that all you needed was three key ingredients to make a dish come together really resonated with me. Not only does it make for cost effective food, but sticking to the key three is a way of really simplifying cooking. Taking out all the extra faff and confusion.

Of all the books out there, it is definitely one I would recommend – You can buy it on Amazon.

This recipe came about last week, when I was playing around with ideas for my pop up Sunday Lunch. Originally I was planning to serve pheasant and I wanted to play around with a few cooking methods, to see if I could get this tough old bird really tender.

After various experiments with roasting poaching and frying, I came up with this… three good things on a plate. Tender pheasant, lentils and crispy lardons. Hopefully Hugh (and Gill) would approve.

For other lentil ideas check out my Lemon and Chive Lentil recipe here.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large Pheasant Breasts
  • 250ml Cider
  • 250ml Chicken Stock
  • 200g Puy Lentils
  • 20g Butter
  • 100g Smoked Lardons
  • 1 clove of Garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of Thyme
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

Wash the Pheasant breasts and place in a large bowl. Cover with the Cider, add 1 sprig of thyme and pop in the fridge. Leave it to marinade for at least 6 hours.

When the Pheasant is done marinating, take it out of the bowl, put on a plate and bring it to room temperature.

Rinse the lentils well under running water then drain. Put them in a large saucepan with the cider the pheasant was soaking in, stock and the remaining thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, lid on, for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the pheasant breasts. Dry the breasts in kitchen towel and rub liberally in 2/3rds of the butter and a little salt. Wrap each breast carefully in clingfilm, making sure there are no holes and the ends are tightly sealed.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and add the clingfilm-wrapped pheasant breasts. Poach in the water bath for 18-20 minutes, then remove and set aside.

Fry the lardons in a pan over a medium heat until they start to turn golden and crispy. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes. Turn the lardons onto a plate and set aside. Return the pan to a high/medium heat, add a knob of butter

Carefully unwrap the pheasant breasts and place them skin-side down into the pan, be careful because the pan might spit. (If the butter colours too rapidly, add a dash of oil.) Fry the pheasant breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Leave to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Taste and season the lentils before plating up.

Serve with freshly steamed green beans or cabbage.

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Many thanks for all the positive feedback from my pop up on Sunday. I will be sure to keep you informed of future events in London and the opening date of my Oxford Supperclub.

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