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Pheasant tagine with lemon couscous

Top food writer Rose Prince prepares a traditional Moroccan tagine - with the far from traditional pheasant - and lemon couscous. Serves four.

pheasant tagine recipe

Pheasant Tagine

Cooking pheasant

It is essential to remember 
that pheasant needs a different approach to chicken if used as a substitute. Pheasant, on or off the bone, dries out swiftly even when cooked in liquid — in a casserole, for example. Cook it very gently and it will retain its juices and always be tender.

A tagine is an aromatic stew from Morocco, named after the clay pot with domed lid that it slowly cooks inside. 
There are a multitude of different versions, but this is an authentic recipe with an extraordinary freshness and fragrance, which is simple to prepare. You need only 
a heavy-based pan with lid to make it, rather than a real tagine.

For the pheasant

  • 80g butter
  • 4 medium onions, 
 very finely chopped
  • 4 heaped TSP ground coriander seed
  • 2 heaped TSP ground ginger
  • 1 heaped TSP ground cumin
  • 2 heaped TSP freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaped TSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TSP turmeric
  • 100g flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 100g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 pheasant breast fillets, each cut into 4 pieces
  • 10 soft dried figs, halved
  • sea salt

For the couscous

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g giant couscous
  • 200g couscous
  • ½ TSP salt
  • 1 lemon, cut in half

one-pot pheasant recipes

One pot pheasant recipes

Game cookery recipe: A fantastic game cookery recipe using pheasant and an excuse to raid the freezer!


  1. Melt the butter in a large casserole or heavy-based pan and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes until 
the onions soften then add all the spices and cook for another minute until they become fragrant.
  2. Add half of the chopped parsley and coriander, and the pheasant then cover with water. Bring slowly to simmering point then cook very gently — the liquid should be barely bubbling — for 40 minutes.
  3. Add the figs and simmer slowly 
for a further 15 minutes, season with salt and add the remaining fresh herbs just before serving.
  4. Preheat the oven to 100°C. To prepare the couscous, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the giant couscous. Fry it over a low heat until a pale golden brown then add enough water to cover.
  5. Simmer for five minutes until 
the couscous is tender — as for pasta. Put the cooked giant couscous and the small-grain couscous in 
a bowl and add the salt. Pour over enough boiling water to cover by 1cm, then cover with foil or a lid 
and put in the oven for 10 minutes. 
The small-grain couscous will 
absorb the water.
  6. In the meantime, fry the lemon slices, cut side down, until they brown. Serve the tagine over the couscous in shallow bowls, squeezing over some of the lemon.