Spice of life

Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 00:00

The majority, 80 per cent, of Kapil’s spices are sourced in India by his cousin Vivek. “The balance we source through markets in India and through our strategic partner in Europe. They have their own farms in Guatemala, Indonesia, Vietnam and Egypt. Our customer base continues to increase, but I will never allow our quality to diminish. That’s part of the reason Olive and I are going over to India this December, to meet a couple of new farmers and have a meeting with a trader based in Goa. I’m determined that all our spices are the freshest and best they can be.”

The roll-call of chefs who use Green Saffron spices is stellar. “A few of the wonderful chefs we supply include Richard Corrigan, Ross Lewis, Derry Clarke, Heston Blumenthal, Joël Robuchon, Raymond Blanc, Pierre Koffmann and Wolfgang Puck,” Kapil says.

See greensaffron.com


Serves 4

2 young hen pheasants

12 slices streaky bacon, 2mm thick, rind on, or 16 slices Italian Pancetta

5ml rapeseed oil

For the spiced butter

250g unsalted softened butter

2tsp black cardamom seeds, ground

1tsp sea salt

2tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves

25ml Armagnac

half tsp black pepper

Pheasant garnish and sauce

200ml dry white wine

150ml chicken stock

2 pomegranates, seeds and juice

50g unsalted butter, cubed and kept chilled

Heat your oven to 180 degrees/gas 4.Mix the ingredients for the spiced butter together. Season the bird well, inside and out, then insert the butter under the skin of the breasts and legs. Lay the bacon or pancetta over the breast meat, then truss to secure the bacon in place.

Take a large casserole, place on the hob, pour in the oil and heat on a medium flame.Lightly fry the birds until the bacon browns all over, then turn the pheasants so they’re sitting on their side in the pot and will cook on their legs. Pour in the wine and stock. Cover the pot with tin foil, put the lid on, place on a middle shelf in your oven and cook for about 10 minutes. Then take the pot out, turn the birds onto their other side, replace the foil and lid, and put them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Take the birds out of the oven again and turn them breast side up. Roast for another 10 to 25 minutes, lid and foil off (hold on to the foil). The exact time depends on the size of the birds and how you like them cooked (I like them pink and moist). Check to see if they’re cooked by gently tugging the legs. They should move easily when cooked. Remove the birds from the pot, set aside and cover with the used foil.

Strain the cooking juices from the pot into a jug and skim off any excess fat . Pour the Armagnac into the pot and gently heat it. When it is warm, carefully tip the pan slightly to form a pool and set the Armagnac alight with a match, ensuring that you burn off all the alcohol

Pour the juices back into the pot, bring up to a vigorous bubble. Add the cold cubed butter, whisk, and reduce to coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning, then set aside untilyou are ready to serve.

Remove the trussing string and the bacon. Pop the bacon onto a baking tray and place it in your oven to crisp up for five minutes at 190 degrees/gas 4.

Carve the birds, removing the legs first, then neatly cut the breasts from the carcasses and place them on a roasting tray and cover with butter or greaseproof paper. Pop the jointed birds in a hot oven, 220 degrees/gas 8, for one or two minutes. Then trim the breasts and slice them on the bias and diagonally.

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