Roast Pheasant with Apples

Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

This recipe is adapted from one of Kay O’Flynn’s, the chef and proprietor of an Irish country hotel called Rathsallagh House. In Ireland, pheasants are hunted in the wild. In American markets, most game we buy is farm-raised; it is milder in flavor and more tender than wild game.


  • 1 pheasant (about 3 to 3½ pounds)
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • cups chopped cored unpeeled apple
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed or coarsely chopped, if soft
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ¾ cup reduced-sodium canned beef or chicken broth, fat skimmed
  • Thyme sprigs, for garnish


    1. Rinse the pheasant thoroughly and pat dry. Pull off any pin feathers and discard any clumps of fat. Sprinkle the bird inside and out with salt and pepper.
    2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet and add the onion and apple. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until apple is very tender and onion is golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the juniper berries and salt and pepper to taste. Cool mixture completely.
    3. Spoon the mixture into the cavity and neck section of the pheasant, add the sprig of thyme, and close the cavities with wooden or metal skewers.
    4. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet, add the pheasant, and cook over low heat, turning, until it is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
    5. Heat the oven to 375°F.
    6. Place the pheasant on its side in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Turn pheasant over, baste with pan juices, and roast 15 minutes longer, basting once. Turn pheasant breast side up, baste with pan juices, and roast, basting occasionally, until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer the pheasant to a carving board and cover with foil to keep warm.
    7. Spoon off the fat from the roasting pan; place the pan with the juices over medium heat. Add wine and broth; boil until reduced to ¾ cup, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Carve the legs off the pheasant and cut the breast meat into thick slices. Spoon the stuffing on a platter and arrange the pheasant on top. Drizzle with the sauce, garnish with thyme sprigs, and serve.