It’s a pity more of us don’t eat pheasant

In autumn, pheasant can be used instead of chicken in many recipes

Pheasant is a tasty alternative to chicken. Photograph: iStock

Pheasant is a tasty alternative to chicken. Photograph: iStock

 

Though the first pheasant has not yet landed into the restaurant, I can feel the chill of winter coming. The restaurant is packed with all things autumnal, with wild mushrooms, pigeons and pumpkins arriving daily.

But there are still some summer vegetables hanging around, too. There are plenty of tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers (all Irish, of course). They are all grown in a glasshouse in Claregalway by Oisin Kenny. Perhaps in Ireland we’re always between seasons. I think every person in Ireland remembers brutal rain during the summer and then beautiful sunny days in October. Such is life on this wonderful island. But the weather makes the vegetables better and this is why we have some wonderful Irish vegetables. 

Pumpkin soup is a good autumnal warmer and I like to add chorizo and cumin to mine to give it that extra bit of heat. Roasted pumpkin is also a good side dish that pairs well with lamb or chicken.

Autumn fruit, such as figs, can be added to the pumpkin at the end of roasting. Their sweetness will offset the juicy lamb. 

Many of us do not eat pheasant nowadays, which is a great pity. Particularly in the autumn, pheasant can be used instead of chicken in many recipes. Wild mushrooms, gnocchi and sage cream? Now that would work well with pheasant. Even if you just buy the gnocchi, rather than make them yourself, try this recipe.

How to make pheasant with wild mushrooms and gnocchi

Fry two pheasant breasts, skin side down, in a hot pan with a little oil and butter. Transfer into a dish and place in the oven for eight minutes (you want it to be cooked medium). Discard the fat from the pan and add some fresh oil. Fry a handful of wild mushrooms until soft and then add a splash of wine and cream. Boil until reduced by half. Finish with some chopped sage (and your gnocchi, of course).

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