Roast Pheasant with Whisky-Cumberland Sauce
- 1/4 cup Scotch whisky
- 2 oranges, cut into 1/8ths
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 (2 to 2 1/2-pound) pheasants
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 slices bacon, halved
- Whisky-Cumberland Sauce:
- 1 cup Scotch whisky
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 1 cup red currant jelly
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne
- Serving suggestion: Wild rice
For the pheasant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, toss the oranges with 3 tablespoons of the whisky. Rub the pheasants with the remaining 1 tablespoon of whisky and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stuff each pheasant with the oranges and 1 sprig of fresh thyme, and close the cavities with skewers. Wrap the breast of each pheasant with the bacon and set in a roasting pan. Roast the pheasants until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees F., about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes.
For the Whisky Cumberland Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the whisky, orange juice, and orange zest, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 50 percent in volume to about 3/4 cup. Add the currant jelly, salt, and cayenne, and stir well.
Cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a decorative bowl. Cool slightly before serving.