Heritage Hill Pheasants and Partridges are a rare treat that we only receive once or twice a year. These birds are about six months old.
Or try this one from Julie Gibbs, who knows more than a thing or two about food and recipes and who got on the blower to Maggie Beer to get cooking advice. As you do.
Julie's pheasant is the one on the blue-ringed plate.
- A 6-7 month old pheasant needs to be cooked lower and slower.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan).
- Remove the two leg/thigh sections from the carcass and leave the breasts on.
- Brown the three pieces very gently in half olive oil, half butter, and salt, deglaze with whiskey, brandy or calvados then add to a le Creuset pot with about 500 ml stock and flavours of your choice – lemon thyme or sage, apple etc.
- Cover with baking paper and the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then take the lid off and keep cooking and checking every 5 minutes or so for approx. another 20 minutes until juices run clear. The legs will cook faster than the breasts.
- Rest the pheasant pieces on a tray in a warm place, cover with foil, pour the fat off the sauce and then add some lemon juice and cream and season (don’t boil the cream).
- Remove the breasts form the carcass. The drumsticks have sharp tendons so these are best removed from the thigh and used to make a stock later.
- Serve with the sauce.
About Heritage Hill
John and Christine Kersley grow partridges and pheasants in large, netted enclosures set up on their pristine, coastal bushland on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. The birds are free to fly and forage within the enclosures, contained and protected from predators by netting that stretches over the trees. To put that into context, other commercially-available partridge or pheasants are grown in cages.
The birds forage for insects and grasses and are fed green vegetables and a grain ration of lupins, oats and wheat, some of which is steeped in locally-made, Kangaroo Island red wine. Apparently the birds enjoy this part very much. As you would.
Each year, the Kersleys sell most of their birds to the fancy Southern Ocean Lodge on the island, but 2019's raging bushfires burnt the lodge to the ground and put paid to that arrangement. Without the Lodge and with other Southern markets closed through the pandemic, in 2020 we found ourselves the fortunate recipients of these wonderful birds and we've been getting them each year since then.