Recipe: the perfect roast pheasant

Serves two

1 pheasant

6 rashers streaky bacon

half a pint of milk

Four large handfuls of stale white breadcrumbs

Large packet good-quality crisps

Brussels sprouts for two

2 shallots

12 cloves

Butter, salt and pepper

Stick the cloves into peeled shallots, pour the milk over them and leave to infuse in the milk on the back of the Aga (or on

a coolish radiator). After a couple of hours, add enough breadcrumbs to create a sloppy, but not liquid sauce. Leave to infuse again, off the heat. To serve, take out the shallots and cloves, add a walnut of butter and warm. This is the bread sauce.

Fry the remaining breadcrumbs in another walnut of butter until browned and crisp. Roast the pheasant, with the bacon over the breast, in a little butter for 45?60 minutes, until done. Peel and boil the sprouts; warm the crisps.

And that’s all, for a perfect roast pheasant, served with bacon, breadcrumbs, sprouts, crisps and bread sauce. It’s extremely easy as the sauce and crumbs can be done well in advance, and it’s pretty cheap for a festive dish, too.

For good old English dishes (or exotically foreign ones as they seemed then), try the National Federation of Women’s Institutes Poultry and Game (1960). It includes rook and squirrel. I guarantee any copy you find will be well used. Mine is.