Stamford chef Phil’s on top of his game

Phil Kent. head chef at the William Cecil in Stamford
Phil Kent. head chef at the William Cecil in Stamford
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Phil Kent, head chef at the William Cecil at Stamford, is gearing up to compete for Game Chef of the Year title at the CLA Game Fair, in conjunction with The Field magazine which takes place at Harewood House on August 1.

Phil will take part in a live cook off against Callum Bowmer, a chef from Rudding Park in Harrogate. The two will be cooking with venison and provided with three mystery ingredients on the day.

The judges will be Mike Robinson, the UK’s leading game chef and owner of the Pot Kiln in Berkshire and the Michelin starred Harwood Arms in London, along with the editor of The Field, Jonathan Young.

Phil’s entry, which earned him a place in the final, was roasted breast & confit leg of pheasant, thyme pressed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, buttered kale, and Madeira reduction.

If you fancy trying it at home, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients for two.

Confit leg of pheasant

2 Pheasant legs

300ml Pommace olive oil

1 Dried bay leaf

1 Clove ½ Star anise

Breast of pheasant

2 Breast of pheasant

Knob of butter

Pinch of freshly chopped thyme

Thyme pressed potatoes

3 Large potatoes

1 Clove of garlic

1 Banana shallot

250gm Unsalted butter

10gm Chopped thyme

Roasted carrot & maple syrup puree

250gm Carrots

1 Banana shallot

1 Clove garlic

100ml Double cream

100ml Vegetable stock

Maple syrup & sea salt to taste

Madeira reduction

50ml Madeira

300ml Game stock

100gm Mirepoix (diced carrot, leek, onion & celery)

Method for two

Breast of pheasant

Season both breasts with salt and pepper. Place a large pan on heat until very hot. Add a knob of butter and fresh thyme before searing both sides of the breast for no more than two minutes. Place in the oven at 170C for 10-15 minutes so the breast is lightly pink.

Confit leg

Place oil and all aromatics into a deep pan. Place pheasant legs into oil and cook in an oven on a low heat of 100C for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender and breaks to touch.

Thyme pressed potatoes

Line a deep pan with a knob of butter and a cartouche (round piece of greaseproof paper). In a another pan bring your butter to a low heat so that the fat and cream separate. Using a ladle, skim the cream from the mixture and place to one side. Finely dice your garlic, shallot and thyme and sweat off in a frying pan before adding to your clarified butter. Layer the potatoes evenly and clockwise around your deep pan (remembering the base of the pan will be the top of your presented potatoes). Continue building the layers adding a small amount of clarified butter between each layer. Lightly season every layer. Finish with a second cartouche. Place a heavy bottom frying pan on top of the cartouche to keep the potatoes tightly pressed whilst cooking. Place in the oven at 170C for around 40-50 minutes or until you can run a cocktail stick through the centre of the potatoes. Remove from the oven and place a weight on top of the pan resting on the potatoes and place everything in the fridge until fully set. Remove from fridge and cut to desired shape before reheating to serve.

Roasted carrot & maple syrup puree

Peel your carrots and roast in the oven alongside butter and thyme until Al dente. Sweat off your diced shallots and garlic in frying pan before then adding your carrots and vegetable stock to the mixture. Reduce mixture by half, finish with double cream, maple syrup and season to taste. Liquidise mixture and pass through a sieve to a fine puree.

Madeira reduction

Shallow fry your mirepoix and add the Madeira before reducing by half. Add your game stock and reduce to your liking.

To serve

Place potatoes and confit legs back in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove breasts from oven and leave to rest. Place all other ingredients on the plate along with some sautéed curly kale before finishing with your halved breast, confit leg and thyme pressed potatoes.