Wednesday, 20 November 2013

More apples

For some reason or other I have been even more into apples this autumn than any other. Probably because this year (since going to Morocco in June) I have been much more drawn towards the sweetness of savoury dishes cooked with fruit. Apples lend themselves so well to savoury dishes and I find the tangy sweetness they add to a dish is so suited to a good autumn dish.
The apples I had this week were organic (I try to only eat organic apples since they are on the "dirty dozen"), English Spartan apples, which I had never tried (or heard of) before. They were a beautiful rosy red and looked like large cherries, and they were very nice - a particularly sweet, crisp variety which begged to be stewed or roasted alongside some meat. The meat in question was a little plump pheasant. Game season is in full swing now and makes a delightful change to the copious amounts of chicken consumed throughout the summer months. Unforgivably (since I didn't manage to get around to getting a grouse in August) this is my first bit of game of the season. As a result I kept it simple with the following recipe of pheasant cooked with apples and lemon - a great evening warmer as the cold nights surround us thick and fast.

Pheasant roasted with apples and lemon
Serves 2

- a pheasant (around 700g)
- smoked streaky bacon, enough to cover the bird (4-5 rashers)
- Spartan apples, 2, quartered
- half a large lemon (or one small), quartered
- onion, quartered
- wholegrain mustard, heaped tsp
- oil, tbsp
- reduced chicken stock, 250 ml
- bay leaves, 2

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees. Place the pheasant in the centre of a roasting tin and surround with the apples, lemon and onion quarters. Mix the mustard with the oil and rub over the pheasant. Season and then lay over the bacon rashers till the pheasant is covered. Pour the stock into the tin and place the bay leaves on top. Roast for around 25 to 30 minutes (perhaps a bit more if your bird weighs more) - the pheasant should be cooked but still have a light pinkness in the middle. Remove the pheasant from the pan and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. With a big knife give it a chop down the middle and place onto plates along with the juicy roasted apples and onion.

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