serves 4 guests
Recipe perfectly paired with :
Amarone della Valpolicella, Fracastoro Riserva, Villa Bella, Veneto, Italy
2 Hen Pheasants 850g each
30ml Ogygia Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100g Bacon, cut in cubes
250 Shallots, peeled and trimmed
5g Crushed Juniper Berries
30g Beppino Occelli Butter
2 Bay Leaves
4 Springs of Fresh Thyme
210g Brezzo Composta di Ciliege
100ml Boatyard Gin
200ml Michele Chiarlo Le Marne Gavi Wine
Ogygia Gozo Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
Fresh Parsley finely chopped
4 slices of Pancetta Affumicata
25g Beppino Occelli Butter
Add half of the Olive Oil to a frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, fry the Shallots and Bacon for 5 minutes, or until golden.
Add the Walnuts, cook for a few more minutes, and then transfer the Shallots, Bacon and Walnuts to a heavy, lidded casserole pan using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle the Juniper Berries over the Shallot and Bacon mixture.
Add the Butter and remaining Olive Oil to the frying pan and season the Pheasants inside and out. Once the Butter is foaming, place the Pheasants into the pan and brown on all sides. Tuck sprigs of Thyme and a Bay Leaf inside each Pheasant and add to the casserole.
Deglaze the frying pan with the White Wine, Gin and the Cherries. Pour the liquid over the Pheasants.
Place the casserole pan over a medium heat and heat until simmering. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and continue to simmer for 40 minutes, until the Pheasants are cooked through.
When almost ready, fry the remaining Bacon and Walnuts in a little Butter, until golden.
Remove the Pheasants from the casserole and skim off any excess fat from the cooking juices, using a spoon. Increase the heat and allow the sauce to reduce and slightly thicken.
Garnish with the Bacon, Walnuts and a little Parsley.