Pheasants in Cream with Apples


2 pheasants, cleaned, 2-1/2 to 3 pounds each
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups tart apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon applejack
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch


Truss the pheasants and brown them lightly in the butter in a heavy skillet. Remove them and keep warm while you saute the apples in the remaining butter. Spread the apples in an ovenproof casserole and put the pheasants on top. Add the half cup of applejack to the skillet and stir it over the heat scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour over the birds. Cover the casserole and place it in a 375 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. Add the cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and cook uncovered for 30 minutes more, basting occasionally, until the birds are tender when pricked with a fork. The drumsticks should move easily. Remove the birds to a hot serving platter. Combine the cornstarch with the remaining tablespoon of applejack and stir this paste into the liquid in the casserole. Cook the sauce on the top of the stove until thick. Strain it over the birds, garnish the platter with bunches of parsley and the birds’ plumage, if you have it, and serve with wild rice.


Serves 4


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