- 1 cup raw bacon, chopped (about 1/2 pound or 6 to 8 slices)
- 3 (2 to 3 pound) pheasant, separated into legs, breasts, and thighs
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 pound pearl onions, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water and skins slipped off
- 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- Salt, to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 6 small sprigs fresh mint, for garnish
Render bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pheasant parts and sear on all sides, then add red wine and onions. Sprinkle cracked pepper, bay leaves, tarragon, salt and mint over pheasant parts. Reduce heat to low and cover pot. Cook until tender and juices run clear (no longer pink), about 25 minutes. Remove pheasant carefully to a utility platter, cover and set aside to keep warm. Transfer liquids from pot to a heat resistant glass container (such as a 2 or 3 cup measuring vessel) and allow the layer of fat to rise to the top. Spoon or pour off most of the fat and return the rest of the juices, herbs, bacon and onions to the pot over medium heat. Add cranberries to the sauce and cook until the berries pop to make a rustic sauce. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and whisk in honey and sour cream.
Arrange pheasant on serving dish, spoon sauce over, and garnish with mint.