A civet is a French game stew that traditionally uses blood to thicken the sauce. This updated recipe uses cornflour instead.

A civet is a rich French game stew made using wine and onions or shallots. It is traditionally thickened using the blood of the meat. In this pheasant recipe, however, I have used some cornflour to thicken the sauce.

Ingredients (serves two):

  • Pheasant breasts
  • Pheasant livers
  • One large carrot
  • 10 small shallots
  • Olive oil or a tablespoonful of goose/duck fat
  • Cornflour
  • Brandy
  • Red or rosé wine
  • Sprigs or dried thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole peppercorns
  • A whole clove
  • Garlic


  1. Skin the pheasant breasts, and cut the breasts and livers into bite-sized chunks. Peel and dice the carrots and skin the small shallots, keeping them whole.
  2. Heat the oil/fat on a high heat and fry the vegetables. Add the game to brown the outside. Sprinkle half a tablespoonful of cornflour over the mixture and keep stirring until it has thickened. Add a splash of brandy and stir well. Add half a bottle of wine, the thyme, two or three bay leaves, half-a-dozen whole peppercorns, four cloves and a peeled, diced clove of garlic.
  3. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and simmer in a preheated oven at 160°C for one hour.
  4. Check to see if the sauce has started to thicken. If not, mix another tablespoonful of cornflour with a glass of wine. Add to the casserole, stirring well. Cook for two hours.
  5. Serve with some rustic crusty bread.


  • Clear the cooking area in advance if you have any concerns about the brandy igniting.
  • If the stew becomes too thick, slowly add more wine.
  • Allow one breast per person.