• 1 small onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 40g Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tsp walnut oil
  • 1 pheasant, halved (you or the butcher should cut the breast and leg away but keep them attached to each other).
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 125ml white dessert wine or Sauternes
  • 2 level tsp Dijon mustard


  • STEP 1

    Peel the onion and carrot before chopping them into a teeny-weeny dice so the carrot may appear like tiny gems among the lentils. Rinse the lentils of dust before putting them in a small saucepan with the bay leaves and cover with plenty of cold water.
    Bring to the boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender, adding the carrot and onion for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 170c/fan 150c/gas 3. Melt 25g of the butter with the walnut oil in a large, shallow, flameproof casserole. While waiting for the butter to foam, season the pheasant on the skin side.
    Brown each half, skin side only, over a medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes. The pan must be hot as the browning should be accomplished fast in order that the bird not be overcooked.

  • STEP 3

    Drain the lentils and vegetables and scatter them around the pheasant, not over it. Add the stripped thyme leaves and wine. Cover tightly with a lid and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the leg is cooked but the breast still retains the faintest pinkness.

  • STEP 4

    Transfer the pheasant pieces to a warm plate and return the casserole to the hob. Bring to the boil for a minute or so and then whisk in the dijon mustard.
    Whisk in the remaining fridge-cold butter. Continue whisking for a minute or so, until the liquid reduces and coats the lentils. Spoon onto two warmed plates and sit the pheasant on top.


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