Braised Pheasant

This is one for a cold autumn evening when you’ve been out on the hills. You can throw it in the oven in about 20 minutes and it’ll be ready an hour and a half later…plenty of time for a drink and a chat before dinner! I try to keep some pheasant thighs in the freezer, then it’s an easy option for a change on a Sunday. The leftovers freeze well and are even richer and tastier when re-heated.

Recipe: Braised Pheasant

Summary: An easy treat for a cold evening.


  • 1lb / 454g boned pheasant thighs, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • about ½lb / 225g shallots
  • a good slosh of olive oil
  • 1tbsp dairy-free spread
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • ½lb / 225g mushrooms
  • about ½ a bottle of robust red wine
  • 2 tbsp calvados (brandy will do if you don’t have calvados)
  • (½ a tin of vacuum packed chestnuts, optional)
  • ½ a beef stock cube, crumbled
  • 2 tsps flour stirred into a smooth paste with about 2 tbsps of water.


  1. If your pheasant thighs are frozen, make sure they are completely defrosted first.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4 / 180°C / 350°F.
  3. Put the shallots in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave them to sit for about a minute to loosen the skins. This makes them much less tricky to peel.
  4. Melt the spread in a heavy-bottomed flame-proof casserole and add the olive oil.
  5. Peel the shallots and fry them until they are golden brown. Then lift them out with a slotted spoon and put them to one side.
  6. Brown the pheasant thighs in the casserole and then add the mushrooms.
  7. Fry gently for a few minutes until the mushrooms stop looking raw.
  8. Return the shallots to the pan and stir them all together.
  9. Add the wine and stir round to scrape off any tasty brown bits on the pan.
  10. Crumble in the stock cube and stir.
  11. Add the calvados/brandy.
  12. Pop a lid on the casserole and put it in the oven for about an hour and a half or until the thighs are tender and the sauce is rich and dark.
  13. Remove the casserole from the oven about 10 minutes before you want to serve it and put it on the hob.
  14. If the sauce is a bit thin-looking, simmer it gently with the lid off to reduce the liquid.
  15. Add the chestnuts and stir through. From now on, all stirring must be gentle so as not to break up the chestnuts.
  16. Before adding the flour to thicken the sauce, turn off the heat and allow the casserole to cool a little. This will prevent the flour from cooking as it hits the sauce and forming nasty, hard little lumps.
  17. Stir the flour mixture into the sauce and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to cook out the flour.
  18. Serve and enjoy!

Preparation time (duration): 20 minutes

Cooking time (duration): about 1 ½ hours

Diet type:Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 6-8

Meal type: dinner

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