Braised Pheasant

This is a Victorian recipe from Oxfordshire. A brace of old birds was sometimes cooked like this for an informal autumn dinner and served with rice and the first brussels sprouts of the season.


  • 1 brace old pheasants
  • 2 large onions, cut in rings
  • ½ stick (60 g) butter
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned flour
  • 2 tablespoons red-currant jelly
  • cups (6 dl) good brown stock
  • cup (1.5 dl) red wine
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • ½ cup (90 g) shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper


In a frying-pan fry the onions in the butter, then put them into a large casserole. Fry the bacon in the same pan and put on top of the onions. Set aside the pan with the fat in it.

Rub the birds all over with the seasoned flour and place them side by side, breast upwards, on top of the bacon. Melt the red-currant jelly in a saucepan and stir in the stock, the wine and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour the mixture over the pheasants, cover the casserole and cook in the oven at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 2 hours.

Lift the pheasants out on to a flat serving dish and keep hot. Bring the liquid in the casserole to the boil again. Stir 1 tablespoon of cold water into the cornflour, then spoon a little of the boiling stock into it, stirring hard. Tip the dissolved cornflour into the casserole, stirring all the time. Boil for 2 minutes. Check seasoning. This sauce should have the consistency of thin cream and a rich taste. Pour it over the birds and put back into the oven.

Quickly make the frying-pan hot again, pour away all the excess fat and fry the walnuts for 30 seconds, shaking the pan all the time. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle the walnuts over the pheasants and serve immediately.