Roasted pheasant with black currant sauce and some rustic side dishes

This is a lovely and low-stress Christmas dinner. Plan on one half of a pheasant per person. These side dishes will feed 6-8 people. Wild mushroom dressing with cranberries, Brussels sprouts with sliced almonds and mustard glaze, and Potatoes Dauphinoise (not peeled for a more rustic look) with nutmeg and Irish cheddar. You can also find my gluten-free cutout cookies and Florida-style Christmas pudding on this site.



Ingredients – wild mushroom dressing
1 lb of crusty bread cut into 1″ cubes
1 TB butter, 1 TB olive oil
8 oz cremini mushrooms
8 oz button mushrooms
2 shallots
1 oz dried wild mushroom of any type
4 oz dried cranberries
2 cups brandied apple cider
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground peppercorn blend
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
Method – wild mushroom dressing
Add the creminis and buttons. In a medium bowl, add brandied cider, cranberries and dried mushrooms. Let sit for an hour, or so. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the bread into cubes and put into a large bowl. Wash the creminis and button mushrooms. Using the slicer attachment on the food processor, slice them.  Peel the shallots and slice them, as well. Take out a large frying pan and add butter and olive oil. Place over high heat. Add the creminis, shallots and buttons. Add thyme and peppercorn blend. After they reduce and caramelize a little, add the salt. Add the contents of the bowl with cranberries, etc. Let reduce until the liquid is almost gone. Add to the bowl with the bread. Stir to combine. Add chicken stock. Spray and 9×13 glass dish with cooking spray. Add stuffing. Bake, covered for one hour. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
Ingredients – Brussels sprouts (a variation of my friend, Molly Smith’s recipe)
2 TB olive oil
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 cup sliced almonds
juice of one small lemon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground peppercorn
2 TB good quality mustard
1 tsp mustard seed
1/8 cup cream
Method – Brussels sprouts
Slice sprouts with the slicer attachment on the food processor. Add oil to a large frying pan and place over high heat. Add sprouts and saute for about five minutes. Add all other ingredients and combine. Serve.
Ingredients – Potatoes Dauphinoise (my way)
2 1/2 lbs potatoes
1 lb of Irish cheddar
butter to grease dish
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups cream
1 cup half and half
Method – Potatoes Dauphinoise
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Leave potatoes unpeeled and slice using slicer attachment on food processor. Put grater attachment on processor and grate cheese. Butter a 9×13 glass dish. In a bowl, combine cream, half and half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In the glass dish, add a layer of potato and a layer of cheese, repeating until the dish is topped with a final layer of cheese. Pour cream mixture over. Cover dish with foil. Bake for one hour. Uncover and bake for 15-20 min until browned on top. Serve.
Ingredients – roasted pheasant
1 pheasant 2-3 lbs
1/2 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
1 lemon
1 head garlic
1 tsp rubbed sage
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
splash of olive oil
Method – roasted pheasant
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take giblets out of pheasant! Tuck wings underneath.
Cut carrot, onion and celery into large pieces and place in a small roasting pan. Place pheasant on top. Season veggies and pheasant with salt, pepper and sage. Cut lemon and garlic in half. Place inside bird. Drizzle bird and veggies with olive oil. Rub spices and oil all over bird. Wash hands! Cover bird with aluminum and roast for 30 minutes. Remove foil, baste with more olive oil and roast for another 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Do not overcook or the pheasant will be dry. See black currant gravy below.
Ingredients – gravy – inspired by Bobby Smith, a reader
splash of white wine
1 TB butter
1 TB Wondra flour
2 cups of chicken stock
2 generous TB of black currant fruit spread
Method – gravy
Remove pheasant from roasting pan and keep warm. Place pan on kitchen burners and turn up to high. When hot, add white wine and reduce until it’s gone. Add butter and sprinkle over flour. Stir to combine. Add stock and stir until thickened. Check seasoning for salt and pepper. Place pheasant on a platter. With slotted spoon, remove vegetable from roasting pan and place on platter. Add black currant to gravy. Stir to combine. Serve in a gravy boat with the pheasant platter.

About Elizabeth Dougherty

Elizabeth Dougherty has been cooking and writing about food intensively for more than ten years. She is the fourth generation of chefs and gourmet grocers in her family with her mother, Francesca Esposito and grandmother, Carmella being major influences in her early cooking years. As a teenager, her family sent her to Europe where she became focused on French and Italian cuisine. She survived a year and half of culinary tutelage under a maniacal Swiss-German chef and is a graduate of NYIT, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations. Food Nation Radio has won two news awards for content. Broadcasting LIVE each week, nationwide, on and on stations around the country.

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