RECIPE: Slow Cooked Pheasant Ragu with Bacon and Porcini mushrooms


Pheasant can be such a dry meat but perfect as a juicy, slowly cooked ragu, with added flavour from bacon and porcini mushrooms.  Serve it with a ribbon pasta like tagliatelle, fettuccine or pappardelle or alternatively with polenta. It takes a good while to cook, over 2 hours, but super easy to prepare.

Serves 6-8 people (can easily halve it for less people or if only using one pheasant) but this freezes so well that I make a big batch.

Ingredients 
Small handful of dried mushrooms (porcini)
Olive oil
6 rashers of thick streaky smoky bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves of garlic
4 carrots, diced
1 green or red pepper, chopped
2 pheasants, cleaned and prepared, chopped into pieces
600ml passata (or blended tinned tomatoes)
2tbs of tomato puree
Small glass of wine - red or white or vermouth
300ml chicken stock
3 Bay leaves
Seasoning



Method
Rehydrate the dried porcini mushrooms in a little boiling water for 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large casserole dish and fry the bacon until brown. Add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, carrot, pepper and continue to cook gently until softened for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat and brown the pheasants all over in batches.

Add the pheasants to the vegetables in the casserole dish with the stock, wine, tomatoes, puree, bay leaves and season well. Chop and add the rehydrated mushrooms along with their water.

Give it a good mix, bring to the boil, cover then lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Remove the meat, shred the flesh from the bones, carefully removing any small bone fragments or shot and return to the casserole dish. Continue to cook for 15 minutes to thicken.