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Recipe for pheasant meatloaf Italian-style

Tim Maddams serves up this quick and easy pheasant meatloaf, a dish that works well for batch cooking and can be served just how you like it. Serves four.

Pheasant Meatloaf

Pheasant meatloaf

This recipe for pheasant meatloaf is as authentic as a £9 coin, but its ancestry is of note — a little like a crossbred gundog, you could call it a mongrel but that would seem unfair. Meatloaf is incredibly easy and quick to make, punches well above its weight on flavour and is very ‘freezer friendly’ — meaning you can keep uncooked meatloaves in the freezer ready to defrost in the morning and bake in the evening served up with the simplest of veg and spuds.

Once cooked, this well-seasoned pheasant meatloaf treat can be served in a myriad of ways — you could slice it and stick it in a bun, you could crumble it into some pasta, serve it with BBQ sauce and fries — basically it’s like that witty yet polite and dependable friend who’s happy in any company, always brings something to the conversation and seems to get away with being less than smartly dressed. (Here’s our recipe for venison meatloaf.)

I would scale this recipe up to make a large batch and then pop the mix into foil trays for freezing. (Read our tips on freezing game.) I love a foil tray; they are easily recycled and also benefit from stacking well in the freezer. You can pop them directly in the oven, no need to decant prior to cooking. I have yet to test one in the pressure cooker, but I expect they would steam well in there on high pressure in around 20 minutes.

Pheasant Meatloaf

Italian-style pheasant meatloaf


  • 500g minced pheasant meat (if you do not have access to minced pheasant, you will need to mince a mixture of pheasant cuts and breasts before starting this recipe).
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • The finely grated zest of one lemon (not the pith)
  • 1 tablespoon of Lea & Perrins (or two anchovy fillets)
  • 1 small leek, well washed and finely chopped
  • 45g breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • A strong pinch of chilli flakes
  • 5g salt
  • A little grated or ground nutmeg


  1. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and pack them well into a loaf tin or foil tray, cover the top of the loaf tin with greaseproof paper and then top that with foil. Place in a baking tray with a little water to aid heat transfer and pop into the preheated oven (180°C or gas mark 4) for 40 minutes.
  2. The cooking time depends on the size of your baking tray. To ensure the meatloaf is cooked properly, carefully lift off the foil and paper and poke a small knife into the middle — have a peep to make sure it looks cooked. Then, pop the lid back on and either leave it to rest for 5 minutes or, if you are not happy it is cooked, pop it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes. (Note: If you take the prepared meatloaf directly from the fridge, it will take considerably longer to be fully cooked.)
  3. Once the pheasant meatloaf is cool and the flavours have finished settling down, you can serve it up with whatever garnish most pleases you at the time. My current favourite is on toast with a fried egg on top. But, as the photo here shows, mash and greens work very well too.

A word on meatloaf

Meatloaf is an adopted American invention that started life in Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia, a very close cousin of meatballs. (Read Tim’s recipe for pheasant meatballs here.)There are also a lot of Italian influences in American food for all the obvious reasons. If that weren’t cause enough to make this pheasant version with lots of Italian accent, I am a big fan of Mediterranean flavours and thought it would all come together to make an interesting dish.