Roast breast & pot-roast thigh of pheasant, pearl barley casserole, with soft herbs

This is a fantastic recipe to showcase pheasant – typically seasonal and perfect for winter dining. Pot-roast the legs until they are nice and succulent with a light touch of smoked bacon and barley and a magnificent roasted breast.


  • Serves: 4 people

Ingredients (for the roast pheasant and legs)

  • 1 whole pheasant, approx 1kg
  • salt
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 2 tbsps mixed chopped soft herbs, such as chervil, parsley, chives
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients (for the pearl barley casserole)

  • 50g onion, finely diced
  • 80g good quality pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 50g celeriac, finely diced
  • 50g carrot, finely diced
  • 80g pearl barley
  • 100ml white wine
  • 300ml good quality chicken stock
  • 20ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsps mixed chopped soft herbs, such as chervil, parsley, chives


  1. For the pheasant, remove the legs – you can always ask your butcher to do this for you. Keep the legs to one side for the pot-roasting later. Evenly season the pheasant crown with salt on all sides. Place the crown onto a tray and put in the oven at 120°C/250°F/gas mark ½ for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, brush the pheasant with melted butter and turn oven up to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Cook for a further 10 minutes. This will give you a crispy, golden bird. Remove from the oven, pour over the cooking liquid and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Once rested carefully place onto a presentation plate with some fresh herbs and serve to carve at the table. Alternatively you can remove the breasts, slice and serve.

  2. For the pheasant legs, separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Place the pheasant thighs on a plate, skin side down. Evenly rub each one with the lemon zest and garlic then season with salt.

  3. For the pearl barley casserole, in a medium-sized casserole pan, sweat the onion and pancetta for about a minute. Add the garlic, diced vegetables and barley and sweat for a further 2 minutes until it starts to caramelise slightly on the bottom. Deglaze with the white wine and reduce by three-quarters. Place the thighs on top, skin side up. Add the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then place a lid on top and put in the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 until the thighs are just cooked. Remove the lid from the pan and turn up the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Cook the pheasant for a further 10 minutes in order to crisp up the skin. Once done, remove the legs from the casserole and stir in the chopped soft herbs.

  4. To serve, place the crown of pheasant onto a presentation board and serve the casserole pot of thighs and barley on the side.

Thank you to Lisa Goodwin-Allen for sharing this recipe with us. Recipe originally published in Glorious Game.

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