- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the pheasant fillets and cook over a high heat for 1–2 minutes, turning to brown both sides. Use a draining spoon to remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion to the casserole, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Peel, core and dice 2 of the apples and add to the casserole (reserve the third apple for garnishing). If the celery is too long to fit in the casserole, cut it across in half, then add to the casserole with the orange zest and juice, juniper berries, stock and walnuts. Season lightly and bring to the boil over a moderate heat.
- Return the pheasant fillets to the casserole, tucking them under the celery. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven to cook for 20–25 minutes or until the pheasant is tender. The celery should still be quite firm. Do not overcook or the pheasant will become dry and the celery too soft.
- Meanwhile, prepare the mash. Put the vegetables in a large saucepan and pour in just enough boiling water to cover. Add salt to taste and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Tip the cooked vegetables into a colander to drain. Pour the milk into the pan and place over a high heat. When the milk is hot, remove from the heat and return the vegetables to the pan. Mash the vegetables with the milk and seasoning to taste until smooth. Cover the pan to keep the mash hot while you finish the casserole.
- Use a draining spoon to transfer the pheasant, celery, apples and walnuts to a warm dish. Cover and keep hot. Discard the orange zest, then bring the cooking liquid to the boil over a high heat. Boil hard for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and slightly syrupy in consistency.
- Meanwhile, quarter and core the apple for the garnish, then cut it into neat slices. Divide the mash among 4 plates and top with the celery, apples and walnuts. Slice the pheasant and arrange on the celery. Taste the sauce for seasoning, then spoon it over the pheasant and celery. Garnish with the apple slices and serve.
Some more ideas
Replace the pheasant fillets with 1 jointed pheasant and increase the cooking time in step 3 to 40–45 minutes. Add the celery halfway through the time to avoid overcooking it. * Root vegetables are delicious in the casserole with the pheasant. Omit the onion, celery, apples and walnuts. Instead, in step 2 brown 100 g (3½ oz) shallots, then push them to one side of the pan. Add 200 g (7 oz) baby leeks and toss over a high heat for 2 minutes, then add 200 g (7 oz) each of baby carrots and parsnips. Replace the pheasant and finish as in the main recipe. * Use skinless boneless chicken breasts (fillets) or turkey breast fillets instead of pheasant. * Fennel is a delicious alternative to the celery – use 4 bulbs cut lengthways in half.
Pheasant is low in fat and an excellent source of iron and B vitamins. * Celery contains a compound called phthalide that is believed to help lower high blood pressure.
Each serving provides
B6, B12, C, iron, phosphorus * A, folate, copper, potassium, zinc * B1, B2, niacin, calcium, selenium