Lean pheasant is cooked in a glistening ruby sauce packed with healthy fresh fruit. Try serving with jacket potatoes and a green vegetable.
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4 boned pheasant breasts, about 150g (5½ oz) each
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
200 ml (7 fl oz) ruby port
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
150 ml (5 fl oz) meat stock
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 purple figs
100 g (3½ oz) redcurrants
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper
To garnish: redcurrants and sprigs of fresh thyme
Method Prep:15min › Cook:30min › Ready in:45min
Remove and discard the skin and any excess fat from the pheasant breasts. Brush a heavy-based nonstick frying pan with the oil and place it over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pheasant breasts and shallots and brown the meat for 1 minute on each side.
Remove the pheasant breasts and set them aside. Add the port and vinegar to the shallots, then boil to reduce it by about half. Stir in the stock and thyme and return to the boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Return the pheasant to the pan, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the breasts are tender: be careful not to overcook them or they will become tough.
Meanwhile, cut each fig into eight wedges and strip the redcurrants from their stalks with a fork.
When the pheasant juices run clear after a breast is pierced with a knife at its thickest point, remove the meat from the pan and keep it warm.
Boil the sauce to reduce it by one-third then stir in the mustard. Add the figs and redcurrants, let them heat through, then adjust the seasoning. Serve the sauce alongside the pheasant, garnished with redcurrants and sprigs of thyme.
Variation: if redcurrants are not in season, use frozen ones, defrosted, or 2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly for the sauce instead.