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Festive: Breast of pheasant with caramelised apples

A recipe by Nick Nairn from his Lake of Menteith Cook School – serves 4.

Buy a whole pheasant from the butcher then remove the breasts for pan-frying. The meaty carcass can be used for delicious stock or soup. If you’re not confident about taking off the breasts, ask the butcher to do this for you.


Season the pheasant breasts and wrap each one in a couple of pancetta slices, finishing with the ends underneath.

Heat a large frying pan until hot, then add the sunflower oil. Place the pheasant breasts into the pan on what was the skin side and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn them over and cook again for another 2 minutes. Add half the butter to the pan and baste the breasts. Lift them out of the pan and keep warm on a warmed plate.

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Add the rest of the butter and the apples to the pan, then sprinkle over the icing sugar and gently fry them for 3-4 minutes until browned and glazed.

Now add the chestnuts to the pan. Increase the heat slightly and stir until the chestnuts are coated with the butter. Add the cider and boil hard to reduce until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the stock and reduce it again, this time by about two thirds. Add the cream and bring it back to the boil.

Return the pheasant breasts to the pan and warm everything through for a couple of minutes. Add most of the chervil or parsley keeping a bit back to garnish. Taste and season, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately on warmed plates with the remaining herbs sprinkled over.

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