Braised Pheasant with Raisins and Cream by Lucas Hollweg

Serves 4-6

100ml Brandy
125g Seedless Raisins
2 Oven-Ready Pheasants, each cut into 4 neat portions on the bone 
Salt and Pepper
A tiny pinch of Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
6 rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon, cut into slices
5-6 small round Shallots or 2 Echalion Shallots, finely sliced
3 sprigs of Thyme
400ml Chicken Stock
100ml Double Cream
Chopped parsley, optional
Gently warm the brandy in a small sauce pan and pour it over the raisins. Leave to soak for 1 hour.
Season the pheasant bits with salt, pepper and cayenne. Heat the oil and butter in a hob-proof casserole and brown the pieces all over in two or three batches. Remove and keep to one side.
Add the bacon, sliced shallots and thyme to the pan and cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Tip in the brandy and raisins and bubble over a high heat for a minute, then add the stock and the browned pheasant legs, pushing them into the liquid. Bring everything to the merest simmer, cover with a lid and cook the legs for 25 minutes. Add the browned breasts, replace the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the breasts are just done. Remove  the breasts and keep them warm, then check the legs – if the meat doesn’t feel like its easily released from the bone, give them a little longer. 
Check the juices and, if necessary, bubble away for a few minutes to thicken them, removing the legs first. Add the cream and bubble furiously until everything is well combined. Taste and season. Add the pheasant bits over a low heat to warm through, then rest of the heat for 5 minutes. Heap onto a serving plate, drape with sauce and add parsley if you fancy it.