Lean wild pheasant has a uniquely gamely flavour found only in truly wild birds. Low in calories, pheasant meat contains less fat than other red meats so not only is it delicious it is also a very healthy choice! Enjoy our guide on how to cook pheasant meat to the highest standard.
• 2 pheasants, about 500g/1lb 2 oz each
• 50g/2oz flour
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• knob of butter
For the sauce
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1½ banana shallots, finely chopped
• 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• ½ glass of white wine
• 4 tsp cider or white wine vinegar
• 300ml/10fl oz chicken stock
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste
• 100ml/3½fl oz double cream
• Puy lentils, cooked according to the packet instructions, to serve
1. Prepare the pheasant first. Pheasant legs have tough tendons that need to be removed
before cooking. Using a pair of pliers, tug hard on the exposed ends of the tendons (at
the foot end), and pull them out.
2. Cut the legs and thighs away from each bird, but leave the breast meat attached to the
ribcage. Cut away the backbone using strong kitchen scissors or poultry shears.
3. Place the flour onto a plate and season with salt. Dust the skin of the pheasant with the
flour, shaking off any excess.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
5. Heat a large frying pan until hot, then add the oil and knob of butter. Fry the legs and
breast meat, skin-side down, until browned on all sides (don’t crowd the pan – if
necessary, fry the meat in batches). Set the breast sections aside on a plate and put
the legs in a roasting tray.
6. Put the pheasant legs into the oven to roast for 5-7 minutes. Add the breast sections,
skin-side up, then continue to roast all the meat for another 10-12 minutes. Remove
from the oven onto a warm plate, reserving the cooking juices, and loosely cover the
pheasant with foil. Allow to rest for five minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the sauce while the pheasant is roasting. Into the same pan as the
pheasant cooking juices, add butter the shallots, thyme and a little salt. Cover and cook
gently for 10 minutes until the shallots have softened. Then add the garlic and fry for
8. Pour in the wine, turn up the heat and boil the sauce furiously until the wine has
evaporated away to leave no watery liquid. Add the cider or white wine vinegar and
continue to cook until the liquid has disappeared.
9. Pour in the stock and continue to cook, reducing the liquid to about a third of its original
10. Add the mustard and stir in the cream. Return to the boil then simmer for a few minutes
until the sauce is just thickened. Add the reserved cooking juices and season, to taste,
with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
11. Carve the pheasant breast from the ribcage (it should still be a little pink). This will give
two pieces of breast from each bird. Cut into thick slices.
12. To serve, arrange Puy lentils on each of four plates, spoon over a generous amount of
sauce, then top with one sliced breast and a leg per plate. Sprinkle over a little
chopped curly leaf parsley.