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Pheasant Braised in Gin & Juniper

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole pheasant
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • thin sheets pork fat or blanched sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup slivered shallots or green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup good gin
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3 cups rich game bird stock or chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Directions:

Season the pheasant with salt and pepper and truss to help maintain its shape.

Completely wrap the bird with the pork fat, tying with twine if necessary.

In a heavy bottomed casserole, sear the bird until golden brown on all sides. Remove the pheasant and pour off the fat.

Add the oil and shallots and saute until just beginning to color.

Add the juniper, bay leaves, liquids and pheasant, cover the casserole and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes or until bird is tender (check at leg joint).

Remove the pheasant to a serving platter, discard fat wrap and keep warm.

Strain braising liquid, discarding solids and skim off fat.

Reduce mixture quickly over high heat to a light sauce consistency.

Off heat, whisk in the parsley and butter and season with salt and pepper. Carve pheasant into serving pieces, and ladle with sauce and serve immediately.

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