A degree of sweetness suits gamey flavours. The unsweetened chestnuts and aromatic rather than fiery spices give a subtle softness to the finished dish.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1tsp each ground cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and coriander
- 1 whole pheasant
- 25g cooked, unsweetened chestnuts, peeled
- 1.5l litres hot chicken stock
- 1tbs lemon juice
- 2tbs double cream
- 2tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fry the onion and carrot in a little oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole pot, then stir in the spices.
Add the pheasant and let it colour all over. Add the chestnuts and stock, bring to the boil, cover with a lid and allow to simmer very gently until completely cooked. This will take about 30 minutes.
Carefully lift out the bird, tipping it so that all the liquor in the central cavity returns to the pot rather than scalds your fingers.
When it is just cool enough to handle, cut away all the meat from the bird. Keep a little diced breast meat for the finished soup, but return the rest to the pot.
Blend the soup in a liquidiser, and if necessary, strain through a coarse sieve.
Add the lemon juice, cream and a little salt, then stir in the parsley and serve with the smarter-looking pheasant dice you kept aside.
Recipe taken from Salt is Essential by Shaun Hill (reviewed here). Photography by Tamin Jones