Whitewell Pheasant Casserole


John and Maureen 1972 (21) When I first started work at the Whitewell Hotel in 1971(now known as the inn at Whitewell) under Chef George McGuire, I used to dread the start of the shooting season as it meant that I had to dress limitless brace of pheasant for this simple but wonderful and very popular dish.

I always find that casseroles and stews are improved the day after they are prepared and reheated, which makes this just what the doctor ordered for a dinner party seeing that everything apart from any vegetables and potatoes you might want to serve with it, is ready!

We like Potato Dauphinoise with this but it is simply mouth-watering with some good homemade warm crusty bread to sop up the juices.

Serves / Makes: six persons

Prep-Time: 20 minutes

Cook-Time: 2 hours

You Will Need;

  • 2, pheasants, dressed and jointed
  • 2, tablespoons beef dripping
  • 1, large onion
  • 1, large carrot
  • 1, stick/rib of celery
  • 1, bouquet garni, a parcel of thyme, parsley stalk and bay leaf, I like to wrap this up in a leek parcel
  • 10 ounces, mushrooms, field if possible although we do use the meaty Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 good pinch, Sea salt
  • 1 good pinch, cracked black pepper
  • 12 fluid ounces, red wine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350/f or gas mark 4.
  2. Chop the vegetables roughly.
  3. Heat the beef dripping in a heavy frying pan and brown the jointed pheasant remove from the pan and place in a casserole dish.
  4. Place the vegetables in the frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the red wine and bring to the boil.
  5. Pour the mixture over the pheasant, season add the bouquet garni and cover, cook in the oven for 1 to 1½ hours until tender, if you want the juices a little thicker just reduce on the stove top until it is reduced as you would like it. Serve hot.

The hotel is situated in the hamlet of Whitewell near Dunsop Bridge in the Forest of Bowland, and when we lived there, it was a very popular spot for them as wanted to fish on the best 5-mile stretch of the river Hodder. As well as those who just wanted to explore this most stunning part of Lancashire, this area is/was known as Little Switzerland and named so it is said by Queen Victoria.

In the 1300’s The Inn at Whitewell was just a small manor house, lived in by the keepers of the Royal forest. The Royal connection remains as the Inn forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster Estate.

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