The Cottage Smallholder

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Best Pheasant recipes: two winning recipes for pheasant

Cock pheasant takes a bow

Cock pheasant takes a bow

We are well into the pheasant shooting season in the UK. It runs from October to February. As we don’t shoot ourselves, we are either given game or swap plucking and dressing game in exchange for a brace. This gives us a reasonable supply for the last three months of the season. The first month is a bit of a desert for us – I hear the bang of guns and know that no one will knock at our door. Having waited eight months to bag the first brace this game is solely for the family tables of the guns.

However there is only so much pheasant that you can eat before Pheasantitis strikes. Living wild, it is not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones so it’s probably the safest meat that you can eat. But pheasant has a strong gamey taste and can be very dry. People suffering from Pheasantitis suddenly become very generous. By mid January our freezers are well stocked.

I love game. Danny is not quite so enamoured. So I’ve had to work hard on developing pheasant recipes that would appeal to him and the other game eating locals that may come to supper.

Recipe for lazy, tasty Pheasant and Venison casserole à la Beastley gets the thumbs up every time. The combination of pheasant and venison always works well but the beans and tomatoes give this dish the edge. The beans soften and absorb the flavours and the toms sweeten the sauce so that is not as rich and heavy as some game dishes. The beans also pad out the meat a bit. My recipe makes 6-8 portions and if you bought all the ingredients at an expensive supermarket it would cost around £12.00. If you shoot, then this is an extremely economical dinner party dish. 

The second favourite is our Pot roast pheasant (gypsy style) recipe. We always eat this on Christmas Eve.  Pheasant and apples work well together and our cooking method almost guarantees that the pheasant will not be tough or dry and the appley, bacony bread sauce is a delicious accompaniment.

Both of these recipes are ideal for first time cooks. They’re quick and simple to prepare and taste as if you have slaved for hours. Game always benefits from long, slow cooking. The beauty of the casserole is that it freezes well and can be made in advance. Out of all the recipes that I’ve invented this is my all time favourite. I cooked it again today and tinkered a bit to increase the depth of flavours and have updated the recipe.

Important tip: do not hang your game for too long. Three days is about right.

  Leave a reply


  1. Xmas Carol

    I have been told that once plucked etc pheasant can stay in the fridge for some time until ready for cooking – can anyone tell me how long and if this is true

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Bridget

    What a shame not to be able to eat pheasant. Sometimes we are given a wild duck – which is very different from the ones available in the shops.

    Hi Magic Cochin

    The puy lentils are a nice twist. Our bacon is similar to Suffolk cure, I’ve been told.

    The partridge recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Hello Casalba

    Yes we’re lucky. We know quite a few people who shoot.

    Hello Sylvie

    I do hope that you can find a pheasant locally. Quite a few butchers sell game at around this time of year.

    Hi City Mouse/Country House

    The casserole is stunning and well worth making. It also freezes well.

    Hi Jan

    Now I’m really impressed. Our dogs kill wood pigeon!

    Road kill is a great way of eating well on a budget.

    Hi Hank

    Of course you can link to the recipe. The casserole is awesome. The sort of dish that you might eat on an Italian mountainside after a day of hunting.

    The hanging tenderises the flesh and brings out the flavour. Plucking is fine as long as the bird is brought up to room temperature. I have eaten game hung for a week – the meat tasted very strong but was melt in the mouth tender.

    Hi Magic Cochin

  3. I like the pot roasted pheasant recipe a lot — I think I may link to it over on my site, if that’d be OK with you.

    On hanging game: What is your theory on it? Why hang in the feathers and undrawn? What is the benefit? And what is plucking like after a three or four day hang? And have you ever eaten it high, as in 7-8 days?

  4. I’ve never had shot pheasant. All of ours has either been caught by the dogs (they can leap quite high after a startled pheasant) or roadkill. No lead shot to break a tooth on!

  5. City Mouse/Country House

    Happy Pheasant Season! The recipe sounds great, and I suspect that a casserole or stew may be just the thing, especially after your description of Pheasantitis. Awesome – thanks for the giggle, and the good info.

  6. I haven’t had pheasant in years. Now you make me want to go out and get some from somewhere.

  7. Lucky you to have a well stocked freezer by mid Jan. Two great recipes – I don’t think I could get Pheasantitis.

  8. magic cochin

    Pot roasting pheasant is definitely the best way – two great recipe ideas – thank you.

    I like to add puy lentils and chopped Suffolk cure bacon to the cassserole.

    Do you get partridge too? There was a great recipe on ‘What to eat now’, Valentine Warner’s programme. He cooked partridge inspired by Moroccan recipes – we’ve tried it twice now and it works really well. Rub the birds with the spices (trad Moroccan mix ‘Ras al Hanout’ or improvise as near as you can) put finely chopped red onion and garlic and some sultanas in the base of the casserole plus a little ghee or butter. Sit birds on top. Pour large spoon of honey on each bird and a knob of butter (or ghee). Water in the bottom to cover the onions well and make the sauce. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with couscous with some and some green veg.


  9. Hi
    Those recipes sound great. We are the opposite season here being in the southern hemisphere but when it was game season we were hoping for some pheasant. Kept seeing them all the time prior to hunting season, but come the season they disappeared…! Not a single pheasant graced our dinner table unfortunately although we did have some duck.

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