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A pheasant month

Wow, haven’t the months flown by? October already and Christmas just around the corner – not to get ahead of ourselves, but we will be taking orders for turkeys very shortly. Don’t laugh, booking the best bird for the big day is an important task!

Back to October and it’s felt autumnal for a while now, so let’s celebrate the moment with some fabulous game, which is only in season for a short while. Pheasant arrives instore this month with the shooting season starting on 1 October. As regular readers will know, I’m a big James Martin fan so I’ll be turning to a fantastic recipe of his for Pot-roast pheasants with cider and bacon. Dispelling any myth that game is dry, this is a flavoursome dish that’s a treat for all the senses.

Melt a small knob of butter in a large, flameproof dish and brown two pheasants on all sides. Set aside and add 100g of bacon lardons to the pan with a chopped onion, celery stick and four chopped sage leaves.

Cook for 10 minutes until the bacon is crisp and then drain off any excess fat. Return the pheasants to the dish and scatter over two cored, chopped eating apples before pouring over 500ml cider and 300ml chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook at 190°C/170° fan/gas 5 for 25 minutes or until the birds are cooked through.

Remove the birds and keep warm, then reduce the liquid by half on a rapid boil before adding a finely shredded Savoy cabbage. Cover and cook for three minutes. Then add 100ml of double cream, season and heat gently for just a minute before serving with twice-mashed potato.

Well that’s got my mouth watering, can’t wait! And if you need convincing on the game, I’d suggest a lamb or beef stew, or chicken and wild mushroom pie as other seasonal treats that’ll certainly be making it to my table this month.