It was hard to narrow down my very favourite British dishes. I love a good roast, I adore my mum’s Lancashire hotpot and I’m a huge fan of strawberries. Eventually, I decided to try and recreate one of my favourite British summertime treats, the cherry brandy lolly but then I saw the forecast. It’s due to pour down all day. Winter warmer it is.
I’m particularly partial to shepherds’ pie and usually make it with leftover roast lamb, rather than mince – but lamb is astronomically expensive and I’ve had a pheasant knocking about in the freezer for a while (don’t ask). So here’s my version of the classic meat ‘n mash combo, reinvented for the hunters out there (thanks for the pheasant Freddie).
1 Pheasant, meat stripped from carcass and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp flour
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Half a bottle of wine
500ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 spring rosemary
10 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
A pinch of grated nutmeg
50g cheddar, grated
Toss the pheasant pieces in flour and season generously. In a large casserole, brown the pheasant and set aside.
Fry the onions and garlic until brown and soft, then add the carrots and celery and fry for a further couple of minutes. Add the pheasant back in and pour in the wine, tomatoes and beef stock. Stir and add the bay leaf and rosemary. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down low, simmer for two hours, or until the liquid has reduced.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft (usually about 10 minutes if sliced), mash with butter, mustard, milk and nutmeg. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
Fill an oven dish with the pheasant casserole, then cover with a fluffy top of mashed potato. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.