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Gamebird terrine recipe – perfect for using up pheasant legs

Legs are often overlooked when it comes to gamebird recipes, but this dish from José Souto is a perfect summer starter to avoid wasting the. Serves eight.

gamebird terrine

Gamebird terrine

We all have recipes for gamebird breasts as they cook quickly and are easy to use, while the legs are often overlooked and thought of as not worth the effort. But how wrong you would be, and this gamebird terrine recipe proves it. You can use just pheasant legs or a mix of different gamebird legs to make a starter that works well over the summer months.

Confit gamebird terrine

  • Prep time: 24 hours
  • Cooking time: 3 hours


  • 2 star anise
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g maldon salt
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • 10 pheasant legs
  • 800g duck fat
  • 6 leaves gelatine
  • 3 tsp chopped chives
  • 12 slices serrano ham


  1. Pound the star anise using a pestle and mortar, then place it in a bowl. Add the sugar, maldon salt and the lemon and orange zest; mix well to make a curing mix.
  2. Take a tray and sprinkle with some of the curing mix, then rub each pheasant leg individually in the mix. Lay the legs on to the tray, finally sprinkling any leftover mix over them. Leave the legs to cure for at least 3 hours, turning a few times. Once the legs have cured, wipe the remaining mix from the legs and pat dry.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2. Place the pheasant legs into a deep oven dish, large enough to accommodate all the legs and the duck fat to cover them. Heat the duck fat in a saucepan until it has all melted, then pour it over the legs. Cover the dish and place it in the oven to cook slowly for 3 hours or until the meat becomes tender and the bones pull out of the legs easily.
  4. Once the legs are cooked, pass the dish contents through a sieve, collecting the fat and juices in a bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge to set.
  5. Peel the skin off the legs and carefully pull the meat off the bone. Be careful to ensure that you remove all the bones, skin and any gristle. Once all the meat is picked, take the fat out of the fridge and scoop the top layer away to reveal the juices at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Take 3 gelatine leaves and place them in cold water to soften. Then take some of the cooking juices, warm and add the gelatine, stirring together until it dissolves. Pour the juices on to the meat, then add the chives and mix in well.
  7. Lay out a long piece of cling film and spoon on the meat mix. Roll the cling film around the meat 5 or 6 times, then twist the ends to tighten and compress the meat into a sausage shape. Tie off the ends so that it holds its form. Place in the fridge overnight to chill.
  8. The next day, lay out another large piece of cling film and lay 6 slices of serrano ham vertically, then another 6 pieces overlapping in the middle so you have a rectangular shape.
  9. Take the last 3 gelatine leaves, again soften in cold water, then add to 50ml of hot water and mix well so that it dissolves. Brush this on to the ham.
  10. Remove the cling film from the meat and place the sausage on to the edge of the ham. Brush it again with the gelatine. Roll the ham around the meat, using the cling film, and allow to chill for another 1 or 2 hours. Then cut it into slices through the cling film, being careful to remove thereafter. Serve the gamebird terrine with beetroot puree and an apple and cucumber salad.