PHEASANT WELLINGTON (Serves 4-6)
Preparation Time: 1 hr 30 min
Cooking Time: 40 min
To make the pastry:
- Sift 500g strong plain flour and 1 ½ tsp Maldon salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in loosely. Don’t make the crumb to fine, you need to see bits of butter.
- Make a well in the bowl and pour in about 150ml of cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough (add extra water if needed to bring together).
- Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle.
- Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width. Keep the edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.
- Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again to three times the length.
- Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins.
- Remove from the fridge and roll out to a rough rectangle shape of 45x30cm with a thickness of about 3mm.
To make the mushroom duxelle:
- For the mushroom duxelle, grate the mushrooms (try and resist the temptation to put in the food processor as this will squash them) and add to the finely chopped shallot, garlic and tarragon in a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat. Gently sauté until all the moisture has evaporated; this will take about 25 minutes. The best way to test if it is done is to trail a wooden spoon through the pan – if juices appear in its wake keep cooking for another 5 minutes until a clear path is left in its wake.
- Lay your four skinless pheasant breast fillets out on a plate and spread out the inside mini fillet. Have a good inspection to make sure there is no shot left in the flesh, season with Maldon salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper. Heat a frying pan over a moderate heat, add a little oil and fry the pheasant breasts on the outside only for about a minute until there is no raw flesh showing. Don’t cook the inside of the fillet which should still be raw. Remove from the pan and place on some kitchen cloth.
- Lay out three of the Serrano ham slices on a board and evenly spread half of the chicken liver pate over them. Repeat with the rest of the Serrano ham to give you two groups of paté covered Serrano ham sheets – keep separate.
- Lay two of the pheasant fillets, raw side up and top to tail, on top of one of the sheets of pate covered Serrano ham. On top of this lay half of the baby spinach leaves and then spoon the mushroom duxelle down the middle. Push down lightly with a spoon and then top this with the rest of the spinach leaves. Now lay the other two pheasant fillets on top cooked side up, top to tail and in reverse of how you laid the bottom two fillets. Finally, lay the remaining pate covered sheet of Serrano ham on top and fold up the bottom leaves of ham to form a parcel. Roll this in a few layers of cling film and set aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, place the parcel in the middle of the sheet of pastry and carefully remove the cling film. Brush the surrounding pastry with some beaten egg. Fold the ends over and wrap around the pheasant parcel, cutting of any excess. Turn over so the seam is underneath and place on a baking sheet. decorate the top with a few leaves cut from the excess pastry and brush over all the pastry with the egg. Pop in the fridge and chill for 15 minutes.
- Pre heat and oven to 180°C/ 160°C Fan/ Gas 5. Place the wellington in the centre of the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving up.
- Serve with roasted roots, confit pheasant legs, a gravy made from the remaining carcass and a fruity compote.
Wine pairing: Sileni Syrah – The Peaks, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. The dark fruit, spice and floral notes of this wine would be the perfect accompaniment.