“Even the idea of this dish makes me yearn for October, it is so full of strong, sweet autumnal flavors and colors,” writes Diana Henry, who notes, “Instead of roasting pheasant, you could just saute pheasant breasts, deglaze the pan, and proceed as in the recipe.”

I used one plump two-plus-pound Canadian farm-raised pheasant that I got at John McGinnis & Co. in Castle Shannon, and quinces — wonderfully aromatic quinces — from Paul’s Orchard, which sells them while they last at the Original Farmers Night Market in South Fayette (you also can find them at Whole Foods). My quince may have been too ripe and wound up too smooshy to slice and fry, but it was still phenomenally delicious.

— Bob Batz Jr.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter;
  • 2 oven-ready pheasants, about 1 pound 3 ounces each
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quince
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons mild honey such as wildflower or heather
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 cups pheasant or strong chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 3 1/2 ounces blackberries (about 12 good-size blackberries)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy cooking pot in which the pheasant will sit snugly. Brown the birds all over, season well, and roast in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, basting well every so often with the cooking juices.

Quarter the quince and remove the core. Cover with the wine and add 2 tablespoons of the honey. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook the quince until tender — about 20 minutes.

When the pheasant is cooked, remove it from the pot and keep warm. Pour the fat and cooking juices from the pot into a dish and separate the fat by spooning it off. Discard the fat. Add the remaining honey to the pan and cook until you can just smell it caramelizing; this happens quickly, so be careful. Pour on the vinegar —- the mixture will spit a little but don’t worry. Add the stock, the cooking liquor from the quince, and the skimmed cooking juices. Reduce until slightly syrupy.

Slice the cooked quinces. Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan, sprinkle on half of the sugar, and cook the slices on both sides just to brown them. Add the blackberries and turn around in the buttery juices to heat a little, adding the rest of the sugar. Be careful not to squash the blackberries or the juices will stain the quinces.

Carve or joint the pheasant and serve with a little of the sauce, laying slices of quince and a few blackberries alongside each serving.

Serves 4.

— “roast figs sugar snow” by Diana Henry
(Mitchell Beazley, 2009, $19.99)