Roast pheasant with ravioli and wild mushrooms
- 200g/7oz ‘00’ pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 free-range eggs, plus 1-2 tbsp water as needed
- 2 whole pheasants, cleaned (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 2 tbsp double cream
- finely grated black truffle, to taste (optional)
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- 125g/4½oz kale, tough stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 150g/5½oz wild mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 5 tbsp Madeira
- 500ml/18fl oz chicken stock, simmered until reduced in volume by half
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Start by making the pasta. Blend the flour and eggs in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry to hold together when squeezed. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and bring together to form dough. Knead lightly for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Turn out the pasta dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Cut the chilled pasta dough into quarters. Roll out one quarter of the dough on a lightly floured work surface until very thin. This can be done using a rolling pin or a pasta machine. If using a pasta machine, dust the rollers and set them to their widest setting, then pass the pasta dough through the machine, collecting the rolled pasta at the other end. Keep rolling the pasta sheet through the machine, reducing the rollers to their next-widest setting each time, until the pasta has been rolled through the rollers set to their narrowest setting. Return the rolled pasta to the fridge to rest.
Meanwhile, cut the legs from the pheasants, then separate the drumsticks and thighs. Remove the meat and skin from the thighs and blend to a purée with the cream in a clean food processor. Reserve the pheasant bones.
Add 1 teaspoon of the grated truffle, if using, and blend again, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the crown from each pheasant carcass and set aside.
Heat half of the butter in a large ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Add the pheasant drumsticks and reserved bones, the carrot, leek and celery and fry until browned, then push to one side of the pan.
Add the pheasant crowns, breast-side down, and fry until the skin is golden-brown. Turn the crowns over and place them on top of the bones and vegetables.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the contents for 15-18 minutes, or until the pheasant is just cooked through. (The meat is cooked through when the juices run clear when the pheasant is pierced in its thickest part with a sharp knife and no trace of pink remains.)
Lay one sheet of the rested pasta onto a lightly floured work surface and cut out 8 x 9cm/3½ circles. Brush 4 of the pasta circles with water, then place a spoonful of the puréed pheasant mixture into the centre of each. Cover each filled disc with the remaining circles, pressing down very gently around the filling to seal and squeeze out any air bubbles. Trim and crimp the edges.
Heat half of the remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the kale and halved garlic clove, plus a splash of water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the kale is just tender. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper then return to the heat. Add another knob of butter to the pan and, when melted, fry the mushrooms until tender. Add the shallot and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Season well, then add to the plate containing the kale.
When the pheasant has cooked, remove it from the oven and lift the crowns from the pan. Set them aside on a plate to rest, covered in aluminium foil.
Return the frying pan and its remaining contents to the heat and pour in the Madeira. Bubble for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the reduced chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then strain, reserving the strained liquid in a clean pan. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste (and a little grated truffle, if using). Discard the pheasant bones and vegetables.
Just before serving, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and carefully lower the ravioli into it. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and the filling is cooked (the ravioli is cooked through when it floats to the surface of the water). Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon.
To serve, carve the pheasant breasts from the bone and slice each in half lengthways. Divide the kale among the serving plates, spooning some of the mushrooms alongside. Top each portion of kale with half a pheasant breast. Balance one pheasant ravioli on top of each pheasant breast. Drizzle the sauce over and around the pheasant, then finish with a final grating of fresh truffle, if using.
This recipe makes more pasta dough than is required - the remaining pasta dough is best frozen unrolled, wrapped in greaseproof paper and cling film; it can then be used in another recipe.