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Roast pheasant with ricotta & Parma ham

  • 90g pack Parma ham
  • 140g ricotta Ricotta ree-cot-aRicotta is an Italian curd cheese. Made from whey, it is traditionally a by-product of making…
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaf, plus some sprigs
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan Parmesan parm-ee-zanParmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…
  • 2 oven-ready pheasants, washed and dried
  • 150ml extra-dry vermouth
  • olive oil, for drizzling Olive oil ol-iv oylProbably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
  • Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Separate the layers of Parma ham and chop two slices finely. Mix the ricotta, chopped ham, thyme and Parmesan with some seasoning.
  • Carefully ease the skin away from the breast meat of each pheasant and use half the stuffing per bird, pressing it to the contours of the breasts through the skin. This protects the meat from the heat and will stop it drying out. Poke some sprigs of thyme into the body cavity to add flavour.
  • Put the pheasants in a roasting tin and top each one with the remaining ham. Season with pepper, then pour over the vermouth and drizzle with oil.
  • Roast for 20 mins, then turn down the heat to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and cook for 40 mins more, basting every now and then with the pan juices until the legs are no longer pink. Cover with foil and a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 mins before carving. Serve with wilted spinach and potatoes prepared however you like them.