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Casserole of Pheasant with Chestnuts and Orange

The natural sweetness of the chestnuts, heightened by the orange juice, combines perfectly with game. When buying chestnuts, look for smooth, shiny shells and nuts that feel firm and solid.
Preparation time : 20 minutes,
Cooking time : 1 hour,
Oven : Preheat to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3),
Calories per serving: 680

ingredients

serves 6
1 brace oven-ready pheasants
500 g can whole chestnuts in water or 1 lb (450 g) fresh chestnuts
1 medium onion
3 oz (75 g) butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 pint (570 ml) chicken or game stock
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
Juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Orange slices for garnish

method

1. Cut each pheasant into 4 pieces with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. If using fresh chestnuts, score a cross on the side of each nut with a sharp, pointed knife.

2. Drop the scored chestnuts into boiling water and leave for 2 minutes. Drain and peel away the shells and skin. Finely chop the onion.

3. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the pheasant pieces and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer the pheasant to a lidded casserole dish.

4. The pheasant stays moist in this delicious casserole.

5. Add the onion to the hot butter and cook until it is lightly golden. Stir-fry the chestnuts with the onion for 2 minutes and then transfer to the casserole dish using a draining spoon.

6. Mix the flour with the residue in the saucepan and leave to bubble and lightly brown for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the redcurrant jelly, orange juice, grated orange rind and wine vinegar.

7. Pour all the contents of the saucepan over the pheasant, season and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer the pheasant pieces, onion and chestnuts to a hot serving dish.

8. Strain the cooking juices over the finished dish, garnish with orange slices, and serve.

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