Pheasant & chestnut ragù with pappardelle

Pheasant & chestnut ragù with pappardelle

Gee Cartwright

2 pheasants, roughly jointed
3 stalks celery cut into 5mm dice
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
100g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into rough dice
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tbs plain flour
1 tbs tomato pureé
2 tsp chopped thyme or oregano leaves
100ml red wine
750ml hot beef stock
230-250g chopped tomatoes
200g vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
600g pappardelle
50g freshly grated parmesan or pecorino
100ml double cream

Serves 6-8

Pheasant Ragu: Based on Northern Italian ragù, this recipe is a fabulous way of using up fresh or frozen pheasant. It freezes well, but freeze without the chestnuts and add when reheating.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a large, ovenproof dish. Season the pheasant and fry in batches on a high heat for 3-4 minutes until coloured, then transfer to a plate or dish.

Meanwhile gently cook the celery, onion, garlic and pancetta for 3-4 minutes in a tablespoon of vegetable oil without allowing them to colour, then stir in the flour and cook on a low heat for a minute. Stir in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and herbs, then gradually add the red wine and stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil, add the pheasant meat, season and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about an hour until the meat is tender.

Once tender lift out and allow the joints to cool. Simmer the sauce to reduce slightly. Strip and roughly chop the cooled meat from the bones and add back into the pan. Add the chestnuts for 10 minutes until heated through.

Cook, drain, and season the pasta.

Just before serving stir in the cream and the parmesan and heat through. Before serving add half the sauce to the pasta, mix to combine and then serve in warmed pasta bowls or plates with the remaining sauce spooned over the pasta and with extra grated cheese served separately.