This recipe for pheasant ballotine with sussex truffles and quick-pickled trumpet chanterells is a star mushroom course

This pheasant recipe is by Nick Weston from Hunter Gather Cook

This pheasant ballotine dish has been the star of our mushroom courses this year. A ballotine might seem quite cheffy – but it is actually quite easy to make and can be adapted to a huge variety of ingredients. Once all the components are ready, plate up and serve with tenderstem broccoli and garnish with wood sorrel and sliced truffle.

Ingredients for the pheasant ballotine:

  • 4 skinless pheasant breasts
  • 4 1cm-thick strips of brie
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 1 truffle
  • 12 slices of prosciutto ham

For the pomme purée:

  • 800g of potatoes (white or maris piper)
  • 200g butter (cut into small cubes)
  • 200g single cream
  • Salt and pepper

For the quick-pickled trumpet chanterelles:

  • 3 large handfuls of trumpet Chanterelles (rinsed and cleaned)
  • 240ml of distilled vinegar
  • 120ml of water
  • 1.5tbsp sugar
  • 2.5tsp of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
  • 3 strips of lemon zest

Method for the pheasant ballotine:

  1. Lay the pheasant breast between a sheet of cling film on a chopping board and bash with a rolling pin to flatten it out.
  2. Place the brie in the centre of the breast in line with the grain of the meat and sprinkle with thyme and a few twists of black pepper.
  3. Take your truffle and, using a microplane grater, grate a generous amount of truffle over the brie. Grating the truffle exposes a lot more surface area and enhances the aroma and flavour of the truffle.
  4. Pull out a length of cling film, lay it on a flat surface and lay out three slices of prosciutto in the centre at one end, making sure they overlap slightly.
  5. Place the pheasant breast over the top of the prosciutto, fold up the sides of the pheasant into a parcel and then fold over the prosciutto. Fold over the nearest end of the cling film and roll up the ballotine nice and tight, a bit like making sushi rolls.
  6. Once rolled, twist one end, again, nice and tight, expel any trapped air at the other end and then twist that end until you have a firm-looking sausage. Repeat with the other three breasts.
  7. To cook, bring a pan of water to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer. Place the ballotines in the pan and cook for 10 minutes, remove and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before unwrapping them and slicing into three sections about 4cm thick.

How to make pomme puree:

  1. Peel the potatoes and simmer until soft. Remove from the pan and drain.
  2. Return the potatoes to the pan on a very low heat. Using a spatula, work the potatoes around the pan, breaking them up. At this stage you are trying to get rid of as much moisture as possible before adding it back in the form of butter and cream — it takes a fair amount of working at a low heat — just make sure it doesn’t catch. Gradually add in the butter and cream, working it as you go — this can take up to 10 minutes, but you will have the smoothest, creamiest mash ever. Season to taste and, if there is any truffle left — truffle it!

Quick-pickled trumpet chanterelles
This recipe works well with all sorts of mushrooms, best made the day before you intend to use them, and always worth making if you ever have a glut of finds.

Quick-pickled trumpet chanterelles

Quick-pickled trumpet chanterelles

Method:

  1. Fill two small jam jars with mushrooms, heat up the ingredients in a pan until all the sugar and salt has dissolved, then pour over the mushroom and seal the jars.
  2. They are ready to eat within a few hours but will get stronger after 24 hours. Will keep for two months in a fridge.