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Spatchcock Pheasant

with a garlic & herb butter, roasted grapes & balsamic reduction

First preheat the oven to 220°C.

To spatchcock the pheasant, place the bird breast side on the bottom and push down hard to break the breast bone. Turn it over, with a heavy knife, put it through the cavity and chop along the back bone. Spread the bird out flat, pushing down hard, then remove the backbone fully cutting it away. Transfer to a lightly oiled oven dish.

To make the garlic and herb butter, take a large knob of butter and soften it slightly. Chop the herbs finely and mix into the butter along with a pinch of salt. Crush the garlic and also mix into the butter.

Rub the butter into the surface of the pheasant, ensuring there is an even covering. Drizzle a little oil on top and cover with tin foil. Place in the oven for 25 minutes then remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.

For the balsamic reduction, add the vinegar to a pan on a medium to low heat, or so it is just under a simmer. Continue simmering until it starts to become thick and sticky.

15 minutes before the bird is ready, place the grapes in a small oven proof dish and add to the oven on a low shelf. Remove both the pheasant and the grapes from the oven at the same time. The grapes will have sweetened in the oven and take on an almost pear like flavour.

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Pheasant season is upon us and with it a great bird for cooking with. The more usual roasted or stewed pheasant can get over played at times, which is why spatchcocking is a great alternative. Spatchcocking the bird is actually a better way to cook pheasant rather than roasting, this is so because pheasant can become very tough if overcooked. Spatchcocking allows the heat to be in contact with more area of the bird, allowing it to cook quicker and more evenly.

Cock or hen?

The cock is larger and richer in flavour whereas the hens are smaller and a more delicate, it is personal preference as to which is best. Hanging actually adds to the gamey taste. Many say a pheasant should be hung for as long as possible to improve and intensify the flavour, generally 5-7 days which allows time for the membrane to break down.

dscf2304
Exmoor, Devon
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