Rinse and pat dry:
1 young pheasant (2 to 3 pounds)
Place in a heavy pot large enough to hold the pheasant comfortably:
2 Tablespoons butter
And heat over medium heat until the butter begins to color. Add the pheasant and lightly brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Turn the pheasant breast side up, and drape over the
breast and thighs:
3 slices bacon
Scatter around the pheasant:
3 Golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice (3 cups). Stir the apples to coat with fat, then sprinkle with:
2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and simmer over low heat until the pheasant releases clear
juices when its skin is pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the pheasant to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Transfer the apples to a small bowl. Place the pot over high heat and boil the pan juices until reduced to ½ cup.
Remove from the heat. Whisk together in a medium bowl:
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Slowly whisk in the pan juices. Pour the sauce back into the pot, add the apples, and cook over low heat, stirring gently. Until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens slightly. Do not boil, or the sauce may curdle.
Season to taste with:
Salt and black pepper
Serve the pheasant with the sauce, accompanied by:
Wild Rice or Gnocchi