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Pheasant breasts braised in cider

The more one travels in France, the more evident becomes the striking historical fact that this many-sided republic is not composed of one country but of a score of them. As an aftermath of feudal regime, France found itself a country of provinces, each retaining its laws, customs and architecture. The boundaries are now visible, but the difference between the unified French regions is still pronounced.

Could four corners of any country be more dissimilar than Alsace, Brittany, the Basque country and the Rivera, where the native tongues are respectively Alsatian, Breton, Basque and Italian. This astonishing virtuosity is one of the charms of France and one of its geographical perplexities.

The weather, descending too quickly into winter,  calls for something in keeping to titivate our taste buds. This time last year I was in Strasbourg and I had an excellent of pheasant breasts in cider and this week I am including it for you to try for yourself - Simply delicious.
Pheasant breasts braised in cider


Caramelised onions, bacon and cider combine in a perfect creamy sauce for roast pheasant.
• 4 pheasant breasts (young hen breasts if possible as they won't be so tough)
• 4 large rashers, lightly smoked bacon
• 500ml/17fl oz dry cider
• 5 shallots
• knob of butter
• 1 tsp caster sugar
• 30g/1oz plain flour
• 100ml/7tbsp full fat crème fraîche

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Butter the pheasant breasts and then wrap in the bacon. Place in an ovenproof dish (so that they aren't too cramped together) and then pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
3. After 25 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3, pour 250ml/8 fl oz of the cider over the pheasant breasts, cover with a lid or tin foil, and return to the oven for another 60 minutes.
4. Towards the ending of the cooking time for the pheasants, pour the remaining cider into a saucepan and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by about half.
5. Thinly slice the shallots and cook very slowly in a little butter until soft. Then add the caster sugar and continue to cook until lightly caramelised. Remove from the heat until ready to finish the sauce.
6. Check the pheasant breasts during the cooking time to ensure that they do not dry out and add more cider if necessary.
7. To finish the sauce, add the flour to the shallots, place the pan back on a gentle heat and mix together. You may need to add a little more butter at this stage if the shallots are very dry, but they shouldn't be. Now add the cider reduction and the crème fraîche and cook together over a low heat until the sauce starts to thicken.
8. Once ready to serve, slice each breast into about five slices and place on the plate still in the shape of the whole breast. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve. - Fly at a Smile-Price