Marinated pheasant in miso paste makes it cucculent and perfect for elevenses, as well as being ideal fingerfood at a party, says Tim Maddams

It is very easy to get stuck in a rut, relying on the same old recipes 
time and time again, and there is nothing wrong with that; we all 
have our favourites.

But I also get bored and I want to be constantly coming up with novel ways of making tasty treats from my sporting endeavours. That is how this pheasant kebabs recipe 
came about.

A change from satay

I love little meaty skewers but satay 
has been done to death and while I, like most people, love a satay skewer with that lovely peanut dip, this is a touch more interesting. Despite the apparently outlandish ingredients, you will be able to find most, if not all, of what you need in even a modest supermarket these days. 
It is well worth the effort.

Miso is fermented soya bean paste. There are various different versions available with added rice, wheat, barley and so on. But what does that have to do with pheasant? Well, miso paste is a very good producer of extra umami, the savoury flavour element that is all important in a well-balanced meat dish.

There is a happy side-effect of marinating pheasant in miso paste and that is that the meat will be tenderised by the process, with the result that it is uber succulent, soft and delicious. I have been doing these skewers for elevenses for most of the season just gone and they have gone down a storm. But they are easily more than a snack, with the simple addition of some rice or a few steamed buns, and a 
couple of cold beers.

They also work very well as part of a 
sort of sharing board of hot gamey treats.

There is one more added bonus, which is that the kebabs freeze very well in a vacuum pack, so you can prepare loads of them well in advance and simply defrost them as you need them, which is ideal.

There are lots of miso pastes out there, but the one I like best for this recipe is the Sanchi brand of dark miso paste, made with soya beans, barley and koji seeds. This gives a great flavour but, of course, is not gluten free, worth bearing in mind if you are cooking for people with intolerances.

To make the marinade for the pheasant kebabs recipe 
(enough for 4 breasts of pheasant )

Mix 1 dessert spoonful of the miso paste with 2 spoons of water, until you have a well-mixed opaque brown liquid. Slice the breast meat lengthways about as thickly as your little finger. Add the meat to the marinade and leave for about half an hour before threading on to skewers.

To make the seven spice

You could cheat and just use a 
shop-bought Chinese five-spice mix, 
but I prefer to make my own seven-spice mix.

Grind all the whole spices below in a small electronic spice grinder or a pestle and mortar, add the ground 
cinnamon and mix together. This mixture will keep well in a jar for several weeks.

Ingredients

  • 
 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tsp small dried 
red chilli
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pheasant kebabs recipe with miso, seaweed and soy dip

Method

1. In a good non-stick pan or under a very hot grill, cook the kebabs with a small amount of vegetable oil brushed on to them. Cook them until they are firm to the touch but try not to overdo it and end up drying them out.
2. Once cooked, simply serve them up with a pot of the dip and the cut up seaweed. I like to remove the stick, drizzle with dip and then fold into a seaweed sheet for ease of nibbling, tip-top gamey street food style.

Ingredients

  • A few sheets of Nori 
seaweed squares (the type 
you buy for sushi rolls) 
cut into quarters 
with a pair of scissors
  • Chopped coriander and 
toasted sesame seeds 
to garnish, if you like

To make the soy dip

Warm everything together in a very small pan until the sugar dissolves — bring to a simmer and then take off the heat. You can add a squeeze of lime and fresh chopped coriander after 
it has cooled if you wish to do so.

Ingredients

  • 2 tBSP of good Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tBSP coconut sugar, or light brown sugar 
at a push
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped