Roast pheasant hens with Puy lentils and salsify

  • medium
  • 6
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
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Crushed juniper berries give this roast pheasant hens recipe from Martin Wishart an aromatic depth, while the flavour of the tiny French Puy lentils is brightened with crispy lardons and creamy salsify.

First published in 2015
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Roast pheasant hens

Puy lentils and salsify


  • Butcher's string


Soak the lentils in cold water for 1 hour. Wash the sticks of salsify and cut into 3cm batons
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark 6
Cover each of the pheasants with 2 slices of the bacon and truss with string. Season the cavity of the birds with a pinch of salt and pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a large roasting pan and brown the pheasant hens on all sides
  • 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
Arrange the carrot, onion, celery, garlic and crushed juniper berries around the birds and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, basting frequently
Meanwhile, place the presoaked lentils in a large pot with the whole bacon, thyme, peeled garlic and halved onion, then pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes
Remove the pheasants from the oven and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the salsify batons in boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes
Fry the bacon lardons in olive oil until golden
Drain the salsify and sauté until golden brown in a little oil along with the lardons, then drain on some paper towels and stir into the cooked lentils and seasoning
Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tray, add the chicken stock to the vegetables and boil until reduced by half, skimming frequently
  • 350ml of chicken stock
Strain the sauce into a small pan, discarding the vegetables, and whisk in the butter
Spoon some of the lentils and salsify onto each plate and place a portion of leg and breast on top. Pour over a little of the sauce and serve with seasonal vegetables of your choice
First published in 2015

Although steeped in the techniques of the classical French kitchen, Martin Wishart’s culinary imagination has a distinctly contemporary edge.

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