Roast Pheasant With Heather and a Whisky Twist
Roast Pheasant With Heather and a Whisky Twist

Early nights, cool temperatures with stews and roasts-- all spell autumn. Autumn is the ultimate game meat season, with arrays of it waiting on shelves ready to be braised, stewed or roasted. Talking of game birds, who can pass up a heartwarming roasted pheasant, especially when paired with a great whisky! 

Whisky’s versatility makes it a great choice for culinary experiments. Pairing it with the right meal though can be quite a tricky task. However when done right, it compliments the meal and cleanses your palate with its bold and bursting flavours.

Pheasant is a natural, free-range bird that’s low on fat with strong flavours. Hence, a slow and simple roast with a whisky infused gravy can make for a wonderful Christmas meal or a weekend favourite. While smoked salmon and sushi go well with a light-bodied whisky, for a tough bird like pheasant, a medium-bodied whisky does the trick.

The Lowland style whiskies with their floral, organic flavours also pair well with game birds, as does a good old scotch, such as a smooth Ballantine’s. A full bodied Irish whiskey, like the Jameson, with its sweet profile also marries well  with the caramelised meat. Fragrant, fruity and sweet whiskies make a great accompaniment with pheasant. Here is a delicious pheasant roast recipe you are sure to love.

Ingredients

  • 2 pheasants
  • 2 tablespoons whisky of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon of your favourite sweet jelly
  • 1 cup meat stock
  • 6-8 sprigs of heather
  • A pint of raspberries
  • 4 rashers bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ovenproof dish
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The Process

For the pheasant:

Heat the oven to 200°C.

Crush half the pint of raspberries and stuff the pheasants with it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tie the string and put it on the roasting dish after basting it with softened butter.

Set a few heather sprigs aside and crush the remaining to release the flavours. Douse them in whisky and wrap the pheasant in bacon with the heather inside, for it to soak up all the goodness.

Roast until browned evenly for around 35 - 45 minutes, basting it from time to time. Remove the pheasant from the oven and let it rest for around 10 minutes on your carving board. Tip the crushed raspberries onto a pan. Cover it with a foil to keep it moist and warm.

For the whisky and raspberry gravy:

In a saucepan combine the flour with the roasted pan juices and whisk until browned. Slowly introduce the stock and bring it to a boil with continued stirring. Simmer until it reduces and strain into a small pan. To the same pan add the jelly to melt, followed by the remaining raspberries. Cook until softened. Serve the pheasant cut in half, after discarding the string. Spoon over the gravy with a dash of succulent raspberries and garnish with the heather sprigs.

Bon Appetit!

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