Breast and ballotine of pheasant with apple and potato rosti, blackberry and juniper jus and wilted curly kale

Ingredients (serves four)

pheasantFor the ballotine leg and roasted breast of pheasant

  • 2 whole pheasants
  • 20 pieces of pancetta or streaky bacon
  • 75g blackberries, halved length ways
  • 2 dried juniper berries, ground using pestle and mortar
  • Kidneys from the 2 pheasants, halved length ways
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 20ml vegetable oil

For the blackberry and juniper jus

  • Pheasant carcasses
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 100ml red wine
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 175g blackberries, retain 12 for garnish
  • 4 dried juniper berries, crushed
  • 25g unsalted butter

For the potato and apple rosti

  • 400g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 200g Granny Smith or Bramley apples, peeled, core removed and grated
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 75g salted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the curly kale

  • 500g curly kale, stalks removed
  • 50g salted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish

  • 1 punnet of affila cress

Method

For the ballotine leg and roasted breast of pheasant

  1. Remove the legs and the breasts from the crown and retain the breasts for later. Debone the legs, removing the skin and any sinew, and cut the leg meat into even strips. Keep the kidneys, discard the rest of the offal and retain the carcass and bones for the jus.
  2. Lay out 10 slices of the pancetta/streaky bacon on a 20cm piece of cling film, ensuring that the pancetta slices are overlapping each other and that there is a 4cm gap at each end (this is so that there is enough excess cling film to be tied when rolled). Repeat the process so that there are two ballotines.
  3. Place the strips of pheasant leg across the middle of the layered pancetta about 4cm in width, season with the salt, pepper and ground juniper then arrange the halved blackberries and kidneys in the middle of the strips.
  4. Roll the ballotines by folding the pancetta over so that the pheasant leg strips fold over the blackberries and kidneys. To keep them central, ensure that the pancetta over laps and wrap tightly with the cling film. Secure the ballotine by tying the two ends of the cling film.
  5. To reinforce the shape, repeat the process again with a piece of foil and twist the ends to form a firm cylinder.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Place the ballotines in simmering water to cook for 1 hour. When they are cooked, remove from the water and chill. When you are ready to serve, unwrap the ballotines and fry in a little oil to brown off the outside, then place into the preheated oven for 8 minutes
  7. To cook the breasts, begin by rubbing them in the oil then place them into a hot frying pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Allow them to rest for 2 minutes, then season before serving.

For the blackberry and juniper jus

  1. Roughly cut the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and colour in a pan with the chopped pheasant carcass.
  2. Add the thyme, half of the blackberries, the crushed juniper berries and the red wine and reduce.
  3. Add the chicken stock and reduce once more.
  4. Pass the jus and reduce until it is of the required thickness to coat the pheasant.
  5. For extra gloss and richness, stir in the butter at the end and drop in the remaining blackberries for garnish.

For the apple and potato rosti

  1. Place the grated potatoes into a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much excess water as possible then place into a bowl with the grated apple and egg yolk and mix until well combined. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Place 4x 7-8cm rosti pans (alternatively, use a large pan and 7-8cm rings) over a medium to high heat and place equal amounts of butter into each one. When the butter begins to froth, spoon equal amounts of the rosti mixture into the pans, pressing it down well with the back of a spoon.
  3. Fry the rostis for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown, pressing them down every so often as they cook. Carefully turn them over and fry on the other side until golden-brown on both sides.
  4. Transfer the rostis to the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the rostis are completely warmed through.

For the curly kale

  1. Cook the curly kale leaves in a pan of salted, boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until just tender, then drain well.
  2. Heat a frying pan until hot and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the boiled kale and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, or until wilted.
  3. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper; drain off excess liquid before serving.