Warm winter salad of chargrilled pheasant, pomegranate, Umbrian lentils, shaved fennel, rose harissa
This is a lovely recipe share for the beginning of winter, it is a popular choice on the menu at The Swan and perfect as a starter for a dinner party or supper with friends. We source pheasant from our sister farm Ropsley in Lincolnshire; knowing the provenance of the game you buy is really important, so do ask your butcher if the birds are British. November is the perfect month for game birds, having had time to fatten up, and this dish works just as well with partridge, mallard or guinea fowl.
Serves 6 as a starter
- 4 pheasant breasts, skinned and brined for 2 hours
- 200 g Umbrian lentils, cooked
- 2 bulbs of fennel, shaved
- Fronds picked from the fennel
- Lemon juice
- 2/3 tsp rose harissa,
- 150g natural yoghurt
- Chicory leaves or crunchy gem lettuce, loosely torn up
For the salt brine
- 300 ml water
- 30 g table salt
For the dressing
- 150 ml pomegranate molasses
- 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pomegranates, deseeded
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Submerge the pheasant breasts in the salt brine and leave for 2 hours. This will help to keep the meat succulent and tender when cooked.
- After a couple of hours, remove the pheasant from the brine and rinse under cold water to remove any excess salt, pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Place a skillet pan or a normal frying pan on the stove over a high heat. Griddle or simply pan fry the breasts with a drizzle of olive oil for approximately 8/10 minutes turning every couple of minutes.
- Remove the pheasant from the heat when cooked and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Warm the lentils in a pan with the fennel fronds and a good squeeze of lemon juice to season.
For the dressing:
- Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Mix the harissa and natural yoghurt until combined, season to taste.
- Thinly slice the pheasant breasts length ways.
- Place the lentils, shaved fennel, broken lettuce leaves & sliced pheasant into a large mixing bowl. Then lavishly dress the salad with the pomegranate dressing. Toss well and divide evenly between plates.
- To finish, place a generous spoonful of the harissa yoghurt on each dish and drizzle with any extra dressing.