Delicious ways to cook pheasant with no need for a special shopping trip.

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Here are six tried and tested pheasant recipes you’ll be able to make with ingredients you probably already have to hand in the fridge and your kitchen cupboards.

1. Roast pheasant in foil (serves four)

Ingredients

  • Oil
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 2 oven-ready pheasants
  • 50g butter
  • 2tbsp mango chutney (optional)
  • 2tbsp créme fraiche (substitute nature yoghurt if necessary)
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or gas mark 6.
  • Cut two large foil squares from a roll, each large enough to wrap a pheasant. Brush inside surface with the oil.
  • Place an onion inside each bird, and smear the skin with butter.
  • Place each bird on a foil square, and top with the chutney.
  • Season well.
  • Wrap up the foil over the bird to make a loose parcel, so the steam can circulate, but seal the foil tightly.
  • Place in a roasting dish in a pre-heated oven at 200°C, 400°F, or gas mark 6 for an hour (or 2 hours at 150°C, 300°F, or gas mark 2 for older birds).
  • Open up the parcels, and roast for a further 10 minutes. To make the sauce, pour the cooking juices into a pan, add the creme fraiche (or natural yoghurt) and bubble for a couple of minutes.

pheasant drive

2. Pheasant breasts in a mustard cream sauce (serves four)

Ingredients

  • 75g of butter
  • 4 pheasant breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or gas mark 6.
  • Dot 20g of butter over the breasts, season well and wrap them in tinfoil, before placing them in the oven at for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a bowl placed over barely simmering water
  • Add the mustard and vinegar. Cook for eight minutes.
  • Add the cream and seasoning.
  • Pour the sauce over the pheasant breasts.

3. Stuffed pheasant breasts in a cider cream sauce (serves four)

Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh pheasant breast fillets
  • 8 rashers of streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 4 teaspoons of red or green pesto (1 for each breast)
  • 150ml of medium sweet ‘still’ cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Pine nuts to garnish

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or gas mark 6.
  • Make a slit in each of the fillets to make a pouch
  • Fill the pouch with a generous teaspoon of pesto.
  • Wrap each fillet with two rashers of bacon and place in a roasting dish.
  • Pour in the cider and put the lid on the dish, or cover with foil.
  • Place in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, until the pheasant is cooked.
  • Next, pour off the juices into a pan, while keeping the fillets warm in a separate dish.
  • Bring the juices to the boil and reduce by a third.
  • Turn down the heat and stir in the cream.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the pheasant fillets on warm plates, and pour over the creamy sauce.
  • Sprinkle with pine nuts and a little more ground black pepper.

pate

4. Pheasant liver pâte

Ingredients

  • 8oz of butter
  • 8oz of pheasant livers, washed and trimmed (use only the best)
  • 2 tablespoons of dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme (or a teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • Black pepper to taste

(You will need a food processor or liquidiser.)

Method

  • Melt 1oz of the butter in a heavy pan, then fry the pheasant livers gently for four or five minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove to the food processor or liquidiser.
  • Melt a further 5oz of butter in the same pan, then add to the livers.
  • Rinse out the pan with the sherry, then pour that in with the livers and butter.
  • Add the thyme, garlic and the black pepper, and blend until smooth.
  • Put into small pots or ramekins.
  • Melt the remaining 2oz butter, and pour over each pot to seal in the pate.
  • Add a sprig of thyme for decoration.
  • Cover with cling film, and keep refrigerated until serving.

5. Grilled pheasants with rouille (serves four)

Rouille is a sauce that consists of olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

Ingredients

  • 2 butterflied/ spatchcocked pheasants – cut them through the backbone with a sharp pair of scissors
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt

For the rouille

  • About 100g fresh bread crumbs – you may need a little more or less depending on the bread you use.
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • Maldon salt
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil

 

Method

To make the rouille (you can do this a week in advance)

  • Combine the breadcrumbs and water and set aside.
  • Mash the garlic with half a teaspoon of salt and the cayenne pepper, then add the wet breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle in the 3 tbsp rapeseed oil slowly stirring constantly to emulsify.
  • Place in a bowl

Cooking the pheasants 

  • Rub the pheasants with a little rapeseed oil and the thyme leaves
  • Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in an ovenproof griddle pan until it is smoking.
  • Seal the pheasants in the pan on both sides. What you want is the charred grill marks on the birds.
  • When you have sealed off the birds, season with some salt, and cook in a pre-heated oven (220°C) for about 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through. When they are done leave them to rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Any of the juices that are left in the pan should be poured into the rouille, which can then be served as a sauce alongside the pheasant.

6. Pheasant fricasée (serves two)

A fricassée is a dish of pieces of meat sautéed in butter and served in a white sauce. This is a superb way to use a tender new season bird so it just melts in the mouth. Start making the day before.

Ingredients

  • Two skinned pheasant breasts
  • Grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 4tsp fresh or 2tsp dried thyme
  • Chicken or vegetable stock cube to make half a pint of stock
  • 1tsp of cornflour mixed in a mug with 2tbsp cold water two sticks of celery, very finely chopped
  • Half a cup of frozen peas
  • Two spring onions,
  • Finely chopped garlic
  • Finely chopped fresh chives
  • Single cream
  • Salt and black pepper

 

Method

1. Pick the leaves off the thyme and place in a sealable Tupperware container. Add the grated zest and juice of the lemon.

2. Take each breast and, between two sheets of cling film, tap with a rolling pin to flatten them out as thinly as possible. Remove them and place the breasts flat into the lemon juice and leave covered overnight in the fridge, basting and turning occasionally.

3. Season the chopped celery, spring onion and garlic and fry in a little butter and oil until translucent — then place them on a plate.

4. Lay one pheasant breast flat and spread a tablespoonful of the celery mixture on it, then roll the breast up, securing it with six or so cocktail sticks. Repeat with the second breast, reserving the remaining celery mixture.

5. Gently fry the pheasant in a little butter and oil so it browns, then add the leftover lemon marinade and the stock and bring it to the boil. Turn it down to a simmer, and baste and turn it occasionally as it cooks uncovered. After 10 minutes, add the cornflower mixture, which should thicken the sauce. Continue to cook and baste for a further two minutes, then place the pheasant on a warm plate and cover with foil. Discard the cocktail sticks.

6. Bring the sauce up to the boil, add the remainder of the celery and the peas and cook for a few minutes. Just before serving, add a splash of cream, mix well and then pour the sauce over the game. Garnish with chopped chives.