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Braised Pheasant With Madeira

Taken From: Wild at the Table


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ALTERNATE CRITTERS: Older Geese, Sharptail Grouse, Dove

1 pheasant, picked and cleaned, skin on
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 dozen small mushroom caps, sliced
3 small shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon arrowroot
2 cups Madeira wine
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 cup apple, cored and sliced thinly


Heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan, and brown the bird, rolling and browning on all sides for 10 minutes. Remove the bird but retain the oil in the pan. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the apple sections, and transfer to a braising pot with a tight-fitting lid and keep warm.
Combine the arrowroot and the Madeira in a small bowl; mix thoroughly until dissolved. Return the sauté pan and remaining oil to the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and sauté the mushrooms and shallots, then gradually pour in the Madeira mixture, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Add the oregano and continue cooking over low heat until warm, then remove from heat.
Pour this wine and oregano mixture over the bird in the braising pot, set the tight-fitting lid, and cook for 25 minutes in a preheated 400ºF oven without disturbing. If you remove the lid during this stage, you lose the benefit of the braising action, and you risk a firestorm of alcohol distillate in the oven that will at least terrify your guests and singe your eyebrows. Carve and serve the bird with soufflé potatoes and the pan juices poured over. Serves 2.

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