A Recipe… Of Sorts

No, you haven’t stumbled onto the wrong site. SipSwooshSpit is still about wine. Mostly.

But, if you love wine then, generally, you love food (though that doesn’t always seem to work the other way). So forgive me if I take a food moment and capture in recipe form a dish I made up the other day. Inspired by flavours I know work together. Perhaps not that original – I don’t claim it to be (see my post on partridges).

If I were on Masterchef, I’d no doubt be banging on about “my twist on a classic French dish” or something.

However, I’m not. I am simply answering a couple of requests for a recipe. The measurements are a rough guide only. The recipe has been tested only once…

Pot roasted pheasant in Chianti wine

Pheasant Kind Of A La Bourguignon

You’ll need a heavy-bottomed casserole dish with a lid.


2 ready-dressed pheasants

3 or 4 slugs of olive oil

Generous knob of butter

1 large brown onion chopped into chunks (into eighths is fine)

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely cut

4 rashers of streaky bacon (I prefer unsmoked) chopped

250g brown mushrooms, sliced

200g pack of vacuum-packed chestnuts roughly chopped

1/2 bottle of red wine (I use Co-op’s Chianti, £5.49. Fruity, unoaked and quite pleasant to drink too)

1/2 litre warm chicken stock (made with a cube is fine)

A few sprigs of rosemary, the leaves of one very finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Optional: Two lonely lap cheong sausages hanging about in the fridge and a glass of knackered ruby port.


1. Heat oven to 140C fan/275F (I tend to heat mine 20C or so higher and then reduce the heat when the birds go in).

2. In a heavy-bottomed casserole dish on the stove, melt the butter and two slugs of the oil.

3. Brown the pheasants on all sides. Use quite a vigorous flame. Then remove the pheasants onto a plate.

4. Turn the flame down until it is more moderate, add another slug or two of the oil.

5. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened, but take care not to burn (you can put the lid on to sweat them).

6. Add the bacon (the sausage would go in here too) and fry that for a couple of minutes.

7. Do the same with the mushrooms and then the chestnuts.

8. Add the wine, turn up the flame under the pan and vigorously boil for a few minutes.

9. Add the stock and stir well. Add the chopped rosemary and sprigs. Taste and season accordingly.

10. Turn the heat off. Add the pheasants, nestle them into the mixture, spoon over some of the liquid (most of the birds will be exposed).

11. Put the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven, turn down the heat to 140C fan/275F. Check the birds are cooked after an hour. If not, pop them back in but be careful not to overcook. The breast can go dry quickly.

12. When the birds are cooked, remove them from the dish and keep them warm. I put them on a carving board and cover them in foil and a couple of folded tea towels.

13.  Remove the rosemary sprigs and put the casserole back on the stove and boil to reduce the liquid a bit, for 10-15 mins. Taste it again and add more seasoning if required.

14. Carve the pheasants. Tearing is optional (see pic). Dish up with the sauce. Serve with whatever you fancy. Polenta or mash would be nice.

To drink: A full bodied red to match the robust flavours. Grenache-based blends from the Southern Rhône reds work really well. Big but not overpowering like an Argentinian Malbec might be. The Co-op Chianti would have worked too.

We ate ours with some Tesco Finest Gigondas 2010 – bursting with red fruits and youthful vigour – and a good peppery note in there, too.

At a recent tasting of some of Tesco’s Finest range, this was the best red by a mile. I was given a bottle to take home. It costs £13.49 a bottle, though, being Tesco, there’s usually an offer on. At the time of writing, it was down to £11.



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