Make the most of pheasantby Annabel Warne January 07 2016
The pheasant season comes to a close in just a few weeks on 1st February so now is is the time to make the most of this flavoursome bird.
At this time of year, pheasants are particularly good pot-roasted, casseroled or braised. More flavoursome and leaner than chicken but similar in many ways, it’s easy to switch chicken to pheasant in many of your favourite recipes. Try a pheasant pie, curry or tagine – or pheasant braised in wine or cider with lots of herbs.
Younger birds are also delicious roasted with bacon or pancetta, and breasts can be pan fried and served with a salsa, sauce or salad and dressing for a quick and simple supper.
A healthy choice
As well as being tastier and lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, pheasant is also rich in many essential nutrients, thanks to its natural lifestyle and foraged diet. Pheasants provide more protein, iron, selenium, and zinc than chicken, as well as greater levels of vitamin B6, the vitamin that helps to regulate the metabolism.
Male or female?
Some chefs will tell you there’s a difference between a cock (male bird) and a hen (female) – and show a preference for the hen bird, saying it is the tenderer of the two. We don’t believe this to be the case, and when you’re buying oven-ready pheasants from the Wild Meat Company we think you’ll find it hard to identify any difference.
Regardless of whether you’re cooking male or female pheasants (or both), the failsafe way to succulent meat is always slow cooking. And when comfort food is the order of the day, there are few things better than tender slow-cooked pheasant, falling off the bone in a rich and warming casserole.
Fill the freezer
Pheasant is good value at this time of year when it’s so abundant, and we have plenty in stock. Pheasant freezes well too so why not stock up your freezer and enjoy pheasant for a few more months to come? If you miss out, don’t worry. We usually have frozen pheasant available throughout the closed season too. It tastes just as good so there's no reason not to enjoy it 12 months of the year!
Ideal flavours for pheasant
Fruits: apples, red currants, prunes,
Herbs: bay, sage, thyme
Spices: cumin, coriander, paprika, juniper
Alcohol: cider, port, madeira
Here are some of our favourite recipes
Stevie Parle’s Pot Roast Pheasant
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Pheasant Curry
Mark Hix’s Pheasant Tagine
Mark Hix’s Pheasant, Cider & Chestnut Pie
Blanche Vaughn’s Braised Pheasant with cider and apple
River Cottage Pot Roast Pheasant with Chorizo