Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking by Laurent Tourondel with Charlotte March includes recipes like Partridge Barbajuans; Roasted Pheasant with Braised Cabbage & Chestnuts; Pistachio-Crusted Venison with Caramelized Quince & Red Cabbage; and Crispy Octopus & Cranberry Bean Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.
Pheasant, like most wild game, tends to be a bit drier than farm-raised animals. I like to braise it on top of cabbage, because it keeps the pheasant moist and the cabbage absorbs a lot of flavor from the bird.
Braise the cabbage
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut them in half. Maintain the oven temperature to braise the cabbage.
Cut the bacon into strips 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide, making sure that each lardon contains both meat and fat.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook until they are brown and crispy and the fat has been rendered, about 10 minutes. Add the cipolline onions and reduce the heat to low. Cook the onions, stirring every so often, until they caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the Armagnac and increase the heat to medium. Simmer until the liquid is fully evaporated. Add the cabbage and vin de paille and simmer to reduce the liquid by half, about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the cabbage mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and braise in the oven for 20 minutes.
Roast the pheasants
While the cabbage is braising, layer 6 slices of bacon over the breast of each pheasant. Tuck the ends of the bacon between the legs and the breasts and truss the pheasants. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the pheasants, bacon side down, in the pan and sear until the bacon begins to crisp, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pheasant from the sauté pan and place them on top of the cabbage, bacon side up. Scatter sage leaves around the pheasant. Roast until the juices run clear when a pheasant thigh is pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.
Carve the pheasants, making sure each portion includes some of the bacon. Serve with the cabbage and chestnuts.
Serve this dish with a jammy red wine made from Grenache that offers notes of plums, dried flowers, and spices, such as Grenache, Jaffurs, 2006, Santa Barbara County, California.
This page created November 2010
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