- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 2 onions, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 8 Toulouse sausages
- 400g whole piece of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…
- 2 generous glasses of red wine
- 600g good-quality chopped canned Italian tomatoes
A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 2 x 400g cans white haricot beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 50g fine white breadcrumbs
- a little chopped parsley to serve
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
For the pheasant
- 4 x 500g jars goose fat (it sounds a lot, but you can re-use it again and again)
- 8 pheasant legs, bone in
- 10 black peppercorns
Locate your heaviest deep pan (with a lid) and put it over a low heat. Add 2 tbsp of the goose fat. Soften the celery, onions and garlic cloves, then add the sausages and brown them all for about 10-15 mins (you may have to turn the heat up a bit).
Remove the rind from the bacon and cut the bacon into 8 square chunks. Add the bacon and rind to the pot and pour in the red wine and tomatoes; I like to put the smoked rind in for flavour then pick it out later. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover and simmer very slowly for 3 hrs.
While the base is cooking, prepare the confit. This could also be done well in advance, since it keeps so well. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and season the pheasant legs well with sea salt and pepper. Pack these together tightly into an ovenproof casserole and cover with the goose fat. Add the peppercorns and cook for 2½ hrs, until the pheasant is tender. Remove the legs carefully from the hot fat and drain on a rack above a roasting tray. Increase the oven temp to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. If you are making these ahead, cool and store in the fat in the fridge. To serve, heat gently to melt so you can lift out the legs.
To finish, tip the sausage mix into an ovenproof dish, stir in the beans with some seasoning and sit the pheasant legs on top. Sprinkle the whole thing with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 mins until golden. Scatter with parsley to serve.
Know-howAs long as the legs are completely sealed under a layer of fat, they will keep in the fridge for at least one month, or in the freezer for three. To re-use the fat, bring it to the boil, strain off any meat juices then put it back into jars and keep in the fridge.