This recipe comes from Ashley Wright, head chef at Q Restaurant in Fowey’s Old Quay House. Although he has moved from Dartmoor to the seaside, it seems you can’t take the countryside out of the boy. Ashley, 30, has eschewed fish in favour of good old pheasant. “You can still find them running about in January, and they are such good value,” he enthuses. “You can usually pick one up at your local butcher’s for £2.50, and that will feed two people. That’s a fiver for a dinner party of four – not bad at all.”
Recipe (for 4 people)
- 2 pheasants – ask your butcher to separate the legs and carcass
- 1 glass of red wine
- Chopped carrot, leek and celery – one of each
- 300g chicken
- 4 eggs
- 100ml cream
- Duck fat for confit
- 3 baking potatoes
- 150g 00 flour
- For garnish: trompette mushrooms, beetroot and sprout leaves
I would prepare the first three stages in advance, and cook the breasts and garnish just before serving.
- For the sauce: Roast your carcasses, then put in a stock pan and cover with water. Add the chopped vegetables and simmer for a few hours, Strain, then reduce with some red wine.
- To prepare the bon-bons: Cover the legs with the duck fat and roast for approximately three hours until tender at150 C. Pick the meat from the legs, and bind it using a mousse made by blending the chicken with the cream and two eggs. Season well. Roll the confit leg meat into four balls and coat with the breadcrumbs. Set aside in the fridge.
- For the gnocchi: Bake the potatoes until cooked through, then rice or mash – you’ll need about 300g. Try not to work them too much or they’ll become starchy. Add two egg yolks and the flour, and season well. Mix together to form a dough, roll into sausages and cut into inch-long pieces with the back of a knife. Put into boiling water until they float; take out and refresh in cold water, and drain.
- If using beetroot, buy raw and cook until tender. Peel and cut up into quarters. For the sprout leaves, turn them upside down, cut the leaves off individually and blanch in water for 30 seconds. Wild mushrooms can be sauteed with the gnocchi just before serving.
- To cook the bon-bons, either deep or shallow fry to get a nice colour, and pop in the oven while you cook the pheasant breasts as follows: Heat a non-stick pan, add oil and put the meat in skin side down and season. Turn the heat down to cook it slowly so not to colour it too much. After three minutes, add some butter, turn over and finish cooking. Remember, you don’t want to cook it through – it’s not like chicken, and can become dry. Leave somewhere warm to rest while you fry off the gnocchi.
- Reheat the sauce and vegetables. When all is hot, plate up and enjoy!