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Pheasant schnitzel with wild mushrooms, garlic and butter

This schnitzel recipe requires little culinary flair and yet still tastes excellent, making it a firm favourite for good reason, says Tim Maddams. Serves two.

pheasant schnitzel

I have, over the years, come up with many fancy ways to cook pheasant, but I find I come back time and again to the same old reliable favourites. This recipe for pheasant schnitzel  requires nearly no imagination or culinary flair and yet still tastes fantastic. The golden rule with pheasant breast meat is not to overcook it. We make so much of it being lower in fat than poultry but that is as much its downfall as its blessing — fat covers myriad cooking errors. To help avoid any mishaps, we will be butterflying the breasts here for a more even thickness, making them a doddle to cook. I have used wild chanterelles but you could try fancy exotics such as shiitake or oyster, or use good old-fashioned flat or button mushrooms instead.

Pheasant schnitzel with wild mushrooms, garlic and butter


  • 2 pheasant breasts
  • A little salt and pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • A little seasoned flour or a handful of panko breadcrumbs
  • A good handful of mushrooms
  • 75g butter
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • A splash of Madeira
  • A small ladle of pheasant stock or chicken stock (find our stock recipe here)
  • A sprig of flat-leaf parsley


  1. Place the pheasant breasts on a chopping board and use a sharp boning knife to slice into the thicker end of each breast, around halfway up, towards the thinner end. Try to get the two halves even, and be sure to stop cutting once you are two-thirds of the way through the breast. Then fold out the breast so you now have a broader but flatter piece of meat. You can also give the breasts a gentle tap with a rolling pin in the middle to even them out further, but take care not to mash them completely.
  2. Season the breasts with salt, pepper and a few thyme leaves, then dip them in a tray of panko breadcrumbs, just enough to coat them lightly. Then slice or tear the mushrooms into evenly sized pieces, so they will cook in a reasonably similar time to each other, and set them aside.
  3. Place a heavy-bottom frying pan over a moderate heat. Give it a minute or two to heat up, then add half the butter. Lay the pheasant breasts in the pan and leave them to cook until you can see the meat change colour about two-thirds of the way through the thin end of the breasts. Gently turn them over and cook for about the same time again. If the pan starts to smoke, turn the heat down, or if you start to hear hissing — like moisture from the meat escaping into the pan — remove the meat to rest. Once you are happy the meat is cooked all the way through, place it on a small, warm plate to rest.
  4. Remove any crispy crumbs from the pan and place them with the pheasant before tossing in half the remaining butter and the mushrooms. Turn up the heat a little and move the mushrooms around the pan to help them cook evenly. Once they have some colour and are just starting to soften, turn the heat down and add the garlic. Cook for one minute, then add the Madeira wine. Cook that out, then add the stock. Reduce the liquid a little, then turn off the heat and add the remaining butter and the parsley.
  5. Plate up the pheasant with the glossy, buttery garlic and mushroom sauce. I like to serve this with mash and some grilled broccoli.