Lean pheasant roasted with an herb butter spread under the skin is delicious all by itself, but Jean-Georges Vongerichten makes it even better by serving it with a fiery condiment of pureed fresh horseradish. He places caramelized endives on the plate too, hiding thin slices of apple between the leaves like sweet and tangy petals.
More Recipes From Jean-Georges Vongerichten
1/2 pound fresh horseradish, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
In a covered medium saucepan, simmer the horseradish with 2 cups of the water, the sugar and a large pinch of salt until the horseradish is tender, 30 minutes; drain well. In a food processor, puree the horseradish with the crème fraîche. Scrape the puree into a small bowl and season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, blend the butter with the thyme, rosemary and sage and season with salt and pepper. Rub 11/2 tablespoons of the herb butter under the skin of each pheasant. Rub the remaining 1 tablespoon of herb butter all over the outside of the birds and season with salt and pepper. Tuck 2 lemon quarters into each cavity and tie the legs with string.
Set the pheasants on an oiled rack in a roasting pan on their sides, and roast for 30 minutes. Carefully turn the birds to the other side and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the pheasants breast side up and roast for 10 minutes. Pour the cavity juices into the roasting pan, pressing lightly on the lemon to release the juice. Transfer the pheasants to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Set the roasting pan over 2 burners. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and simmer, scraping up the brown bits, until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Pour the juices into a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Carve the pheasants and arrange on plates. Using 2 soup spoons, scoop the horseradish puree into neat ovals and set them beside the pheasant. Pour the pan juices over the pheasant and serve with the Caramelized Endives with Apples.
A slightly sweet white wine, like Vouvray, helps balance the heat of the horseradish.
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