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Larded Breast of Pheasant

ingredients

serves 4-6
2 young pheasants, each weighing 1 kg (2 1/4 lbs)
1 tsp salt
2 good pinches white pepper
2 fresh sprigs sage or 1 tsp dried sage
2 tbsp clarified butter
2 oz (50 g) streaky bacon cut very thin
250 g (9 oz) chestnuts
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp (1 oz) 25 g butter

method

1. Wash and dry pheasants, then rub well inside with salt and pepper. Rinse and dry fresh sage, or crush dried variety.

2. Rub half the sage inside pheasants.

3. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7.

4. Heat clarified butter and brown pheasants over high heat for 5 minutes. Place them in roasting pan, sprinkle with remaining fat from pan, then cover breasts with bacon rashers and roast in oven for 30 minutes.

5. Cut a cross just through skins of chestnuts and cook them in rapidly boiling water for 20 minutes.

6. Remove pheasants from oven and allow to cool.

7. Rinse chestnuts under cold water and then peel.

8. Caramelise sugar in butter until light brown, add chestnuts and glaze, stirring until they are evenly coated with syrup. Put aside to cool.

9. Cut breast portions from pheasants, putting aside remainder of birds to be used in other dishes. Carve breast meat with bacon layer in slices 1.2 cm (1/2 in) thick, arrange on serving dish with glazed chestnuts and scatter with remaining sage.

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