German Recipe: Pheasant in a Creamy Wine Reduction Sauce with Sauerkraut

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While the international community is traveling to Munich to drink beers from huge glasses and eat grilled chicken or schweinshaxn (roasted pork knuckle) at the world’s most famous beer party, Oktoberfest, we look for something a little lighter but every bit as German.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the pheasant:
1 (1.75 pounds or 800 g) pheasant (chicken is a good substitute)
2/3 cup (150 g) butter
1 cup (250 ml) cream
10 juniper berries
1 2/3 cups (400 ml) white wine
2-3 T thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauerkraut:
2 pounds (1 kg) sour cabbage
1 pound (500 g) white grapes (seedless)
1/2 cup (100 g) butter
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:
Pheasant:
1. Clean with cold water and dry. Season with salt and pepper inside and out. Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
2. Melt the butter on low heat in a pot. Once melted, pour over the pheasant.
3. Put the pheasant breast-down in a deep baking dish in order to protect the breast (Note: you can cover the breast with some bacon for extra flavor but that’s not necessary).
4. Bake the pheasant for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325 F (150 to 180 C) and add the wine, herbs, juniper berries and seasonings.
4. Cook until it is done (about another 40 minutes). Halfway through, flip the pheasant–breast-side up. Continue to pour butter over the breast until the skin is gold-brown.
5. In order to prepare the sauce, reduce the wine mixture from the baking dish until you have about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Add the cream and salt/pepper at the end and stir two minutes over low heat.

Sauerkraut:
1. Wash the sour cabbage with cold water in order to reduce the acidity.
2. Cut it roughly in 2 inch (5 cm) slices. Cut all the grapes in half.
3. Put the butter in a pot, let it melt, heating slowly.
4. Add half the portion of the grapes (1/2 pound) and stir them over low heat. Add the cabbage, salt, pepper, cloves and bay leaves. Add about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of water (you may need to add more later).
5. Let simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Five minutes before serving add the remaining grapes.

Pairings:
This dish is best served with potatoes (either steamed or buttered and mashed).

Thanks to Matthias Hitzel for this delicious submission!

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