About this recipe:Here, ‘huffed’ or ‘houghed’ means wrapped, and in this 18th-century recipe iron-rich pheasant breasts are cooked in attractive pastry parcels.
1 small leek, thinly sliced
125g (4½ oz) gooseberries
25g (1oz) breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
Salt and black pepper
4 pheasant breasts, about 125g (4½ oz) each
4 slices of lean back bacon
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
125g (4½ oz) light vegetable suet
1 egg, beaten, plus extra for brushing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:35min › Ready in:1hr5min
Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Put the leek, gooseberries, breadcrumbs, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and mix.
Remove the skin from each pheasant breast and cut a deep pocket in the side. Spoon the stuffing mixture in, packing it firmly. Wrap a slice of bacon around each.
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the suet and some salt and pepper. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, lemon juice and enough cold water to mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough.
Divide into four and roll out each to about a 15cm (6 in) round, depending on the size of the pheasant breasts. Place a pheasant breast on each, brush the edges with egg and fold over to enclose. Pinch the edges to seal, place on a baking sheet and brush with egg to glaze.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is firm and golden brown, then reduce to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold, with a crisp salad and pickles.