2018 ASPIRING STUDENT CHEF WINNER: MARY HARPER

Breast of Pheasant, Winter Vegetable & Parsnip Puree, Sherry Vinegar Perlage with Port Wine Jus

"I live in the country side and there is a lot of game about, add to this my love for a great Sunday lunch I wanted to combine the two. I wanted to modernise a dish that would be good enough for a restaurant as well as a competition. Taking elements of a Sunday lunch, I have changed the texture of the parsnips and winter vegetables and paired them with pheasant, which is a great meat bird to use."

Ingredients

  • 1 hen pheasant crown

  • vegetable oil

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 100ml of sherry vinegar

  • 1.5g of agar agar

  • 10g of sugar

  • 1.13l vegetable oil Chilled Parsnip puree

  • 5 parsnips

  • 2.27l chicken stock

  • 100ml of cream

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 knob of butter

  • 1 savoy cabbage

  • 1 shallot, finely sliced

  • 1 pinch of fresh thyme

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1 knob of butter 

  • 125ml red wine (merlot)

  • 125 ml port

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 25g butter

Method

1. To make the pearls, boil the vinegar, agar agar and sugar together until dissolved and pass through a chinoise

 

2. Pour into a plastic squeezy bottle with a fine nozzle. Gently pour into the chilled vegetable oil and let the pearls set. Strain off the oil and wash under cold running water, storing in the fridge until ready for use. The vegetable oil can be used again as normal

 

3. For the parsnip purée, peel the parsnips and cook them in gently boiling chicken stock until tender, around 15-20 minutes

 

4. Remove them from the stock and blend 3 of the parsnips in a food processor. Add half of the cream and a little of the stock (reserving the rest for poaching) and blend until silky smooth. Season with salt, pepper and lemon and pass through a sieve. Place in a small pot, cover and set aside

 

5. Take the 4 outer leaves from the cabbage and blanch them in boiling salted water until tender. Then finely slice the rest of the cabbage to its core. Blanch the sliced cabbage until tender, around 4-5 minutes, strain and remove all the water by gently squeezing the cabbage

 

6. Cook the shallot in a pan on a medium heat with a little butter and add the remaining cream with the thyme and garlic. Reduce slightly and add the sliced cabbage stirring to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cool in the fridge

 

7. Once cool, shape the sliced cabbage into 4 equal balls and wrap each one in the cabbage leaves, then wrap tightly in cling film to hold the shape

 

8. Add wine and port to a pan with the garlic and thyme and reduce by half

 

9. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pan. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat and place the pheasant crowns into the stock, cover and leave for 10 minutes

 

10. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4

 

11. Remove the pheasant from the pan and pat-dry. Heat a sauté pan and add a little oil. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper and place the crowns down in the sauté pan, colour the skin side until golden brown

 

12. Add 125 ml of the stock to the wine reduction and continue to reduce

 

13. Repeat to cook the crown on the other side and place in the oven for a further 6-8 minutes

 

14. Warm the cabbage balls in some boiling water for 4 minutes, then remove and cut off the cling film. Cut and then pan-fry the remaining parsnips in a little butter until golden brown. Remove the pheasant from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes

 

15. Re-heat the parsnip puree, cut the pheasant from the crown and place onto the plate, adding the roast parsnip, hot cabbage balls, parsnip puree and sherry vinegar pearls. Add some of the juices from the pan to the sauce reduction that the pheasant was cooked in just before serving and knock in the butter and season.    

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