Roast Pheasant with Filbert Stuffing and Currant Sauce
|Butter||15 Tablespoon, softened, divided|
|White bread slices||5 , trimmed of all crusts and cut into 1/4-inch cubes for about 2 cups (Homemade-type)|
|Celery||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs), finely chopped|
|Onions||1 Cup (16 tbs), finely chopped|
|Filberts||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs), pulverized in a blender or with a nut grinder|
|Sage||1⁄4 Teaspoon, ground|
|Black pepper||To Taste|
|Oven ready pheasant||3 1⁄2 Pound|
|Thin orange peel strips||2 Tablespoon, each cut about 1/8 inch wide and 1 inch long|
|Thin lemon peel strips||1 Tablespoon, each cut about 1/8 inch wide and 1 inch long|
|Chicken stock||1 1⁄4 Cup (20 tbs) (fresh or canned)|
|Currant jelly||2 Tablespoon|
|Corn starch||1 Tablespoon|
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
To make the stuffing:
2. In a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet melt 8 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat.
3. As the foam subsides, stir in bread cubes and let them crisp and brown.
4. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cubes to a deep bowl.
5. To the cubes remaining in the skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter and drop in the celery and 1/2 cup of the onions.
6. Cook over moderate heat stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
7. With a rubber spatula, scrape the entire contents of the skillet over the bread cubes.
8. Add the filberts, sage, salt and a few grindings of pepper, and toss together gently but thoroughly.
To stuff the pheasant:
9. Wash the pheasant quickly under cold running water and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels.
10. Stuff the cavity loosely and close the opening by lacing it with small skewers and cord or sewing it with heavy white thread.
11. With a skewer fasten the neck skin to the back of the pheasant and truss the bird neatly.
12. With a pastry brush, spread 4 tablespoons of the softened butter evenly over the surface of the bird.
To roast in the oven
13. In a shallow roasting pan lay the bird on its side on a rack set.
14. Roast the pheasant in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.
15. Turn it over, brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter and roast it for 10 minutes longer.
16. Then turn the bird breast side up and baste it with the fat that has accumulated in the pan.
17. Continue roasting for 20 to 30 minutes until it is golden brown, basting the bird with its pan juices every 10 minutes.
18. To test for doneness, pierce a thigh with the point of a small skewer or with a sharp knife and check whether the juices that trickle out should be clear yellow.
19. If still tinged with pink, roast the pheasant for about 5 minutes longer.
20. Drop the strips of the orange and lemon peel into enough boiling water to immerse them completely and cook briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
21. Drain in a sieve, run cold water over the peel to set the color and reserve the peel.
22. Transfer the pheasant to a heated platter, remove the trussing string and drape the platter loosely with foil to keep the bird warm.
23. With a large spoon, skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the liquid remaining in the roasting pan.
24. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock, the remaining 1/2 cup of onions, the currant jelly and port and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly and scraping in the brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan.
25. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
26. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken stock and stir it into the simmering sauce.
27. Cook, still stirring, until the sauce comes to a boil, thickens and clears.
28. Into a sauceboat or gravy bowl strain the sauce through a fine sieve and stir in the reserved orange and lemon peel and taste for seasoning.
29. Serve the pheasant at once, garnished, if you like, with additional slices of orange peel and accompanied by the sauce.