Pheasant Saltimbocca (Pheasant Wrapped in Bacon)

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I'll admit, the words "warning: may contain lead shot" on your food doesn't make it any more appetising. In fact, as I peeled the shiny, little pheasant breasts from their plastic packet I wondered if one dose of accidentally swallowed lead shot could actually kill you. Kind of scary. But I liked the danger. (I prodded the pheasant breasts thoroughly though, just in case). 

But anyway. 

In season, pheasant is cheap - I bought six breasts for just £1.99. Incredibly cheap. And I knew that I didn't want any claggy sauces or complicated cooking instructions. It was lunch, and I was hungry. 

Pheasant breasts are smaller than chicken breasts - about three-quarters of the size - but much thinner. Which makes them perfect for pan-frying. And wrapping in bacon. 

So I set out for an Italian-inspired Saltimbocca, but with pheasant. And my goodness, it was gorgeous. The gamey flavour from the pheasant worked so wonderfully with the sage and bacon - and the bacon kept the pheasant (which has a tendency to turn dry) nice and moist. And if you have any sage leaves left over, crispen them up in the pan afterwards. They're gorgeous just tumbled over everything else. I ate this standing up at the worktop, but it would make a lovely meal with some parsnip fries or mash - or a green salad. 

Pheasant Saltimbocca
from my ebook SPICE
Serves 6 (makes 6 bacon-wrapped breasts)
6 pheasant breasts
1 tsp coconut oil (I use a mild, tasteless oil)
12 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon
12 sage leaves, washed and dried

First, pick through the pheasant breasts and make sure there's a) no pieces of lead shot that you can detect and b) no fine, tufty feathers still clinging on to the meat. Give it a quick rinse under a cold tap if you like. 

Lay the breasts out on a board and arrange two sage leaves over the top of each one. Carefully wrap in bacon - you'll need 2 rashers per breast. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and lay the wrapped pheasant breasts into it, and fry for about 8-10 minutes, turning regularly, until they're golden on each side and cooked through. 

Transfer the cooked breasts to a plate and allow to rest for a minute or two before slicing up and serving hot. 

Like this recipe? Find this and over 90 more AIP compliant, paleo recipes in my ebook SPICE. Play with herbs and spices and add flavour to your food! Check it out here

By the way, if you're into AIP Italian recipes, you won't go far wrong with Ambra Torelli's ecookbook, The AIP Italian Cookbook, packed with recipes including lasagne, pizza and cannoli! Find out more here