I was having a rummage around the freezer, as you do, when I spotted a pack of pheasant thighs - skinned and boned ones. I have no idea where I bought them - the label has a brand name, "Wild", rather than a supermarket name, but it seems very much like game casserole weather so that's what I decided to make.
To serve two people you need:
1 pack (4 thighs) skinned and boned pheasant thighs
about 150g wild mushrooms (or see above)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbs sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 tbs seasoned flour
200ml beef, game or strong chicken stock
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbs dry sherry.
Heat oven to 160C (fan 140)/325 F/gas 3
Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Unroll the thighs ( they may be divided into two pieces each) and roll each piece in the flour.
Heat half each of the oil and butter over medium heat in a wide, shallow lidded flameproof casserole dish and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften and then push them out to the sides of the pan and add the pheasant to the middle in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (the onions around the edge might need a little bit of a stir but you want them to start browning).
Give everything a stir, stand back and chuck in the sherry. (If you have some brandy, it would be even better but you may want to shut any doors between the hob and the smoke detector before adding it).
When you've swabbed your singed eyebrows (see, I told you to stand back!) stir in the stock and thyme, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every half hour or so. Add a little hot water if the sauce seems to be getting too thick.
Half an hour before it is due to be ready, clean the mushrooms and break them into bite sized pieces. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan over a high heat and toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. At first a lot of juice will come out of them - keep on cooking until the juice has evaporated and they start to fry again.
Stir them into the casserole and return to the oven until the cooking time is up.
I can assure you it tastes a lot nicer than it looks - the pheasant is meltingly tender but not falling apart and the rich, gamey flavour goes beautifully with the mushrooms. We had it with mashed potato to soak up all the rich juices and some steamed leeks for a fresh green contrast.