Pheasant ‘saltimbocca’ with parmesan polenta and charred sprouting broccoli

Pheasant saltimbocca

Joshua Hunter

4 pheasant breasts, skin on
1 small bunch sage
12 slices thinly sliced pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
1 small bunch thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
100g polenta
250ml whole milk
250ml chicken stock
50g butter
80g grated parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnish
1 lemon
200g purple sprouting or tenderstem broccoli

Holland & Holland
Head Chef: Joshua Hunter

Serves 4

My mum used to make this for me as a child using chicken instead of pheasant. The word ‘Saltimbocca’ means to jump into the mouth in Italian, and she always told me that was because it’s so tasty it jumps off the plate.

Remove any sinew from the underside of the breasts, place a few sage leaves on top and wrap each breast tightly with 3 slices of pancetta. Marinate in a little olive oil, thyme, black pepper and the crushed garlic at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

For the polenta, bring the milk and stock to the boil and whisk in the polenta in a steady stream. Turn down the heat and cook slowly, whisking often until it starts to come away from the pan (20-30 minutes) then whisk in the butter and parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Fry the pheasant breasts in a hot pan with a little oil to get an even colour all over. Transfer the pan to the oven at 200˚C for about 6 minutes. Add a knob of butter at the end, remove the breasts, and rest on a board for 5 minutes.

Get a griddle pan as hot as possible. Blanch the broccoli in salted water for 1 minute, then drain, drizzle with a little oil, and place on the hot griddle until charred. Slice each breast into 3 pieces, plate some of the polenta, and top with the pheasant, broccoli, and a little extra parmesan. Be sure to spoon over any of the buttery juices from the pan.