How to Cook Pheasant

A Complete Guide

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I believe everyone should have a go at roasting a pheasant at least once in their lives; they are relatively cheap and easy to come by whilst making a very acceptable alternative to the Sunday roast chicken.

Roast Pheasant

Pheasants are prone to drying out rather quickly so a generous rub of butter into the breast and leg followed by a slice or two of streaky bacon will help protect the meat from the fierce heat of the oven whilst adding extra fat and moisture. A sprig of thyme or rosemary tucked in under the bacon will impart extra flavour, as would a clove of garlic left to roast in the cavity.

Unlike most other game birds a pheasant will comfortably feed four people based on a weight of 2 lb/1 kilos, the ratio of meat to carcase is high so look out for fresh ones around Christmas time when the younger birds have had chance to fatten as these are the best for plain roasting.

Always cook pheasant in a pre-heated oven; they should take about 30-45 minutes with a good five to ten minutes for resting. I must confess that, as with grouse I like to eat pheasant quite simply, preferring to taste the meat with nothing more than a simple gravy to moisten the flesh and accompanying vegetables. A generous serving of bread sauce and a suitable savoury jelly make fine additions. Leftover meat is quite excellent served cold and the carcase makes a wonderful stock or soup.

Content and picture Miles Collins