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Ingredient of the week: Pheasant

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12 NOVEMBER 2008

When autumn rolls around you know you're in for a treat. Game season starts and the first of the darker, lither birds appears hanging in the windows of all good butchers, and even some supermarkets. Pheasant is wildly under-rated and a great start for game-phobes. It is a mild bird, particularly this early in the season, and tastes like a chicken with the volume turned up. It's marginally drier than a chicken though, so rashers of bacon can be used to add flavour and keep the meat moist. Don't be persuaded to prepare it in just the traditional manner, though – divine though it is. You can use so many different ways. In a winter salad of parsnips and spinach with a sweet and sour dressing would be wonderful, as would a pot-roasted bird with some Spanish flavours – chorizo, peppers, garlic. A good game cookbook is a worthwhile investment if you get a taste for these frugal, fruitful creatures.