Pheasant and Lemon Broth with Egg and Parmesan

Whenever I roast a bird, I always save the bones for stock. Pheasant produces remarkable stock. Clear like consomm√©, virtually fat-free, golden and richly flavoured. It gives zuppa alla Pavese, an exquisite but simple soup from Pavia, a new lease of life. Apart from good stock, it  requires very few ingredients, an egg and slice of dense-textured sourdough-style bread per person, olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan. In the original, the bread sits at the bottom of the bowl, the hot broth added and the egg cooks in the soup, the yolk enriching the broth and the bread thickening it. My version is made with fried toast and the egg poached separately. I add lemon to the stock and finish the soup with freshly grated Parmesan.  Your butcher may be able to supply pheasant carcases.

Serves 2

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 10 min plus 60 min (stock)

For the pheasant stock:

1 pheasant carcase, 2 is better

1 onion

2 stalks celery

1 carrot

1 bay leaf

few sprigs thyme

for the soup:

500ml pheasant stock

1 lemon

2 slices sourdough or similar dense-crumbed bread

25g butter or

3-4 tbsp olive oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp wine vinegar

freshly grated Parmesan

To make the stock, break up the raw carcase, roast for 15 minutes at 200C/gas mark 6. Transfer to a pan with the chopped, unpeeled, onion, chopped celery and carrot, garlic cracked with your fist and peeled, bay and thyme. Add a pinch of salt and 1.5 litres water. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour. Strain. If necessary, simmer to reduce and concentrate the flavour; you want 500ml. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. Half fill a small pan with water, bring to simmer and add the vinegar. Crack one egg at a time into a tea-cup then slip the egg into the simmering water. Cook for a couple of minutes until just set. Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs out of the pan and rest on a fold of kitchen paper to drain. When you begin preparations for the eggs, place a griddle or heavy frying pan over a high heat. When very hot, smear both sides of the bread with olive oil or spread with butter and toast both sides on the griddle. Place in shallow bowls. Add an egg, dust with Parmesan and pour over the hot stock. Serve with extra Parmesan and black pepper.