Baked Highland Burgundys with pheasant ragout

Serves 4
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Highland Burgundys are purple-fleshed heritage potatoes that we often buy from Lucy Carroll up in Northumberland ( You could use any game bird for this, but pheasants are pretty cheap at this time of year and slow-cooking them works really well.

You could serve this as a little snack with small potatoes, or as a more substantial course if you're using larger potatoes. There are some other varieties of purple-fleshed potatoes, like salad blue earlies and Shetland blacks. Once you have removed the pheasant meat from the bone, you can also make a stock in the same way that you make a chicken stock.

4 large Highland Burgundy potatoes

50-70g butter

For the pheasant ragout

1tbsp flour

A pheasant with all of the meat taken off the bone, cut into rough 1cm pieces

Vegetable or corn oil for frying

A couple of good knobs of butter

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1tsp thyme leaves

tbsp tomato purée

1 glass of red wine

1ltr of chicken or pheasant stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. First, make the ragout. Season and dust the pieces of pheasant with half of the flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and brown the pieces of pheasant on a high heat for about 4-5 minutes, then add the butter, onions, garlic and thyme and continue cooking on a high heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are beginning to colour.

Add the rest of the flour and tomato purée and stir well for a minute or so on the heat. Gradually add the wine and stock, bring to the boil, season and transfer to a thick-bottomed saucepan and simmer for about an hour or so, until the pheasant is tender and just falling apart.

Meanwhile place the potatoes on a tray and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on their size, until soft.

To serve, halve the potatoes and scoop them out into a bowl, mash up with the butter with a fork and season, then spoon back into the skins.

Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, make an indentation with the back of a spoon and spoon the ragout on top.