The pheasant season in Britain continues until the end of January, and oven-ready birds will be in the shops for a few days after that, so there's still time to enjoy one of the best food matches for Rioja. Adapted from a Jane Grigson recipe, this dish incorporates everybody's favourite superfood, pomegranate juice.
1. Cut two of the pomegranates in half and squeeze them in an orange squeezer; it sounds improbable, but it works. Put the pheasant in an oven-proof pot with a lid and pour the juice over. Cook in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 for 45 minutes or until cooked.
2. Take the seeds out of the third pomegranate, removing all traces of pith. This is the boring, time-consuming bit, but it's worth the trouble.
3. Cook the bulgur wheat according to instructions.
4. Remove from the pot and carve, arranging the pieces on a serving dish. Arrange the bulgur wheat around the pheasant, and pour the cooking juices, which will have a deliciously savoury, fruity flavour, over the meat. Serve any extra separately. Scatter the seeds over the bulgur wheat; they will look wonderfully jewel-like, and taste terrific.
This dish goes superbly with a good, vigourous Rioja with plenty of complexity: a top Reserva, perhaps.
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