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Pheasant Polpette in a sweet spicy tomato sauce

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Pheasant Polpette in a sweet spicy tomato sauce

Pheasant Polpette in a sweet and spicy tomato sauce

You know the set up. That frozen brace of late January cock birds that’s been irritating you since your conscience made you bother to dress the old chaps in the first place…taking up valuable space in the freezer that would be far better stacked with ice for your Aperol spritz and ice creams for the youth. Get rid. Mince ’em up, a food processor will do, and treat yourself to these fragrant little meatballs. In Venice they would serve them just as they are, as we do on the shoot at elevenses, harpooned from the sauce with a cocktail stick. But they are also fantastic with linguini, a good glug of olive oil and lashings of freshly grated parmesan…

Serves 4.

1. Put all the ingredients for the tomato sauce (except the parsley) in a pan, and cook on a high heat for ten minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Sweat the onion with some olive oil and salt gently in a pan for 5 minutes, until soft.

3. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, ground fennel seeds and fry a further minute.

4. Add the breadcrumbs, then allow to cool.

5. Mix this well with all the other ingredients, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

6. Form the mixture into golf ball shapes, and fry off until well browned.

7. Put the polpette into the tomato sauce and cook gently for a further 5 mins, until cooked through, then stir in the parsley.