Pot-Roasting Pheasant



This is an excellent method for cooking older birds, such as pheasants, which can be tough and dry. If you cook a few vegetables in the dish, too, they will also add flavour. The liquid of a pot roast, gently reduced by long simmering, turns into an intense sauce. Before cooking, slice 2 onions and have ready 2 teaspoons caster sugar, 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries, 2 teaspoons ground coriander and 500 g (1 lb) well-scrubbed whole small carrots. One pheasant serves 2-3.

Alternatively, use your favourite vegetables for other birds. Parsnips and turnips with a little added honey are successful, as are skinned and chopped tomatoes.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 25 g (1 oz) butter in a flameproof casserole over a fairly high heat. Fry 1 pheasant on all sides until browned. Remove the pheasant using wooden spoons so the skin isn’t pierced; set aside.

  2. Add the sliced onions and stir until browned. Stir in the caster sugar, juniper berries, ground coriander and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Return the browned pheasant to the casserole on top of the vegetables.

  3. Add 75 ml (3 fl oz) dry vermouth or white wine, cover and cook in a preheated oven, 160°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 for 2–3 hours until tender. Transfer to a warm serving dish.

  4. Remove the vegetables and arrange round the pheasant. To make a sauce add 150 ml (¼ pint) double cream to the casserole juices and bring to the boil for about 2 minutes, stirring.