As the shooting season progresses, I admit that
I become a little weary of plain roast pheasant and bread sauce, and instead like to use pheasant in dishes that at other times of year require duck or pork.
I also love to use it in more exotic recipes,
as a reminder of the bird’s Eastern origins, writes Rose Prince
Slow-roasted pheasant with spiced barley
This is a great dish for large numbers, as it can be served at room temperature if necessary. The pheasant, onion and barley can be prepared in advance and warmed together in a pan before serving, making this an easy dish for large parties. You can adapt this recipe using any other game bird meat. Serves 4-6.
For the slow-roasted pheasant
- 2 pheasants
- 2 tbsp duck fat
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 200ml chicken or pheasant stock
For the barley
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 200g pearl barley
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1.25 litres (approximately) chicken/pheasant stock, or water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp pomegranate pips
- 300ml Greek yoghurt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/ gas mark 3. Put the pheasants in a casserole with the duck fat and seasoning. Brown them on all sides quickly over the hob and then place the casserole in the oven. Roast slowly for 1¼ to 1½ hours until the meat is very tender. Set aside to cool, then take all the meat off the bone, pulling it apart into bite-size pieces — making sure to remove tendons. Set aside in a warm place. If there are any juices left in the casserole, add them to the barley at the same time as the stock/water (see step 3).
- Cook the onions and garlic cloves in a large shallow pan with the oil over a low-medium heat until they are golden and sweet. If you do not have a very large pan, do this in batches. Lift the cooked onions out of the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much oil as possible. Discard the oil.
- Put the barley in the pan with the allspice and butter, and fry for a few minutes. Add water or stock to cover by about 10cm, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the barley is cooked al dente. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, then mix in the onions and set aside in a warm place.
- To serve, heap the barley on to a serving dish and place the pheasant pieces on top. Scatter over the parsley and the pomegranate pips. Put bowls of Greek yoghurt on the table, with spoons.