Super quick, super easy, and super tasty. Why not try our pheasant stroganoff? Perfect for a weeknight.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 4 pheasant breasts
- 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves
- 150-200g chestnut button mushrooms
- 1 tsp hot paprika, 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- rapeseed oil and butter
- soured cream
- white wine vinegar, dry sherry (or white wine), brandy
- Chop the onion and finely chop the garlic. Chop the mushrooms into 1cm cubes, or thin slices – depending upon your preference. Dice the pheasant into
- Fry off the onions in a splash of oil until they are becoming translucent and nicely softened then add the mushrooms and garlic. After a couple of minutes add a knob of butter and the paprika, mix thoroughly, then add the pheasant breasts.
- Once the pheasant is almost cooked, add a few splashes of the vinegar, a slug of sherry, and a slug of brandy. This will deglaze the pan, bringing out all of the wonderful flavours.
- After about a minute, having allowed the alcohol to evaporate off, add a four or five tablespoons of soured cream (about half a normal tub – go with your instinct). Grind plenty of black pepper into the mix. (Half a teaspoon of dijon mustard is also a nice addition).
- Once the sauce has heated it’s ready to go, but give it an extra five minutes and the flavours will really come together. Serve with rice and a sprinkling of parsley if you have some to hand.
They are a mainstay of almost every hamper pulled out at elevenses. Perfect finger food, along with a cup of bullshot they’ll keep feeling satisfied even on the coldest day. But what makes a good sausage roll? The tracksuit brigade in towns across the country are happy with a Greggs sausage roll; but we should be looking to push the boat out on a shoot day and really make these something special. They should be moist and meaty. To my mind they should also have a nice sweetness which balances the savouriness of good pork.
Good quality sausage-meat is a must. If you have a local butcher with access to Gloucester Old Spot you are onto a winner. Other county breeds may suffice, but I’m lucky enough to be based near the birthplace of the best meat pig in the world. Of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t swap out the pork for some wild boar… One shoot we work with shoots three or four of these menaces a week! This would be a perfect way to use up some of that delicious meat.
Some quality control may have occurred…
Ingredients (makes approx. 16 sausage rolls, plus a sausage-meat ‘pancake’)
- 400-500g pack of sausage-meat
- 2 rashers of smoked bacon
- 2 red onions
- 5 tablespoons vinegar (balsamic/red wine)
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 320g pack of pre-rolled puff pastry
- 2 glasses of sloe gin (one for the sausage rolls, one for the chef)
- herbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to season
Preparation Time: 20 mins — Baking Time: 20 mins
- Chop the smoked bacon into small pieces and begin frying in a pan along with the red onions, sliced. Once the onions have begun to soften add the vinegar and sugar and stir together. At this stage add a small glass of sloe gin (a shot or two equivalent). Reduce the heat and cook slowly for 5-10 mins to allow the onions to soften more and the vinegar/sugar to reduce into a sticky glaze. Set aside to cool.
- Blitz up some breadcrumbs (approximately a small mug’s worth). Some old baguette or stale crusty bread is ideal. The breadcrumbs will soak up the fat from the sausagemeat as the rolls cook. This has two amazing benefits – less mess to clean up, and you end up with a super succulent and moist meaty middle rather than soggy pastry.
- Mix the breadcrumbs and cooled onion mixture into the sausagemeat. I heartily recommend using your hands – it’s much quicker. Also throw in a teaspoon or two of sage and oregano and a couple of grates of nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper. Now you have your filling.
- You want a strip of pastry about 20cm deep to make your sausage rolls. A pre-rolled sheet sliced down the middle length-ways should be just about right. Pre-rolled is perfectly acceptable – even proper chefs recommend it unless you have your own pastry chef.
- Spoon your sausage-meat mix onto your pastry as per the photo above. Shape it into a cylinder which runs the length of your pastry, slightly offset towards the front. By offsetting the meat to the front it makes the next step a lot easier…
- Brush some milk or a beaten egg (or water at a push) along the front edge of your pastry, then pull the back half over the meat and join along the front. Press together to ensure it sticks – I often use a fork for this, which also gives the benefit of a nice pattern.
- Chop your long sausage rolls into individual portions. If you have milk or egg, brush some on the top of the rolls to help them attain a lovely golden colour whilst cooking. Whack the sausage rolls on a baking tray (on baking paper, if you’re sensible) and bake for 20-25 minutes at 200ºC (fan). Any excess sausage-meat can be baked at the same time in an oven-proof dish.
NB. If you want to keep things simple, you can use pre-made caramelised onion sausages instead of making the mix yourself. Simply squeeze the meat out of the skins, add some breadcrumbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I use this cheat occasionally and the result is almost as delicious.
TOP TIP… If you have some to hand I would highly recommend adding a minced pigeon breast. This adds a nice richness and depth of flavour. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s always nice to add something from around the shoot to the mix.
It’s the evening of the Glorious Twelfth. The lucky few have returned from enjoying the greatest date on a sportsman’s calendar. Now, what to do with those fresh, new season grouse? Give them a few days of hanging and there’s little wrong with a traditional roast with bread sauce and game chips. But the sun’s been out, and what better to show off the delicacy of fresh grouse than a nice summery salad?
Topping a Waldorf salad with some beautifully roasted grouse is something a little different, but absolutely delicious.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 grouse
- Streaky bacon
- 50g red grapes
- 50g walnuts
- 2 eating apples
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise (replace with yogurt if on a health kick)
- Cider vinegar
- Salt and black pepper
- Juniper berries and thyme (optional)
- Drape some streaky bacon over your grouse and sear in an oven proof pan before placing in an oven at 200°C for approximately 16 minutes. For a greater depth of flavour put some juniper berries and thyme in the bird’s cavity before roasting.
- Once the grouse is cooked remove from the oven. On a baking sheet spread out the grapes and walnuts. Remove the bacon from the grouse and chop into 2cm squares, add these to the grapes and walnuts before putting the tray into the oven for a few minutes. This intensifies the grapes, draws out some wonderful oil from the walnuts and crisps up the bacon for a nice crunchy texture.
- Chop the celery and apples into chunks and mix with a couple of handfuls of lettuce. Mix the mayonnaise with a splash of cider vinegar and plenty of seasoning.
- Throw the celery, apples, lettuce, grapes, and walnuts into a bowl. Mix together along with the mayonnaise based dressing.
- Carve the grouse, it should still be pink.
- Dish up the salad and top with the grouse.
We hope you enjoy this as much as we did if you give it a go. Why not experiment with a few different salad options? Beetroot is perfect with grouse – throw some into a simple salad and top with grouse and a pomegranate dressing for another delicious summery dish.
We’ve got some super exciting announcements in the pipeline at the moment, and some interesting blog posts in the drafts folder. However, that’s all still to come, for today, here’s a recipe that’s worth considering for the weekend – with no Six Nations it gives an opportunity to enjoy some time in the kitchen.
This is a recipe which has kindly been sent to us by one of the guns from our roving syndicate! If you have any pheasant in the freezer from last season then give this a go! It’s warming, but a little lighter than mid-winter fare, perfect as we enter the spring! If you don’t have any left, don’t worry, it’s perfect in the early season when apples are ripe and ready for the picking!
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 2 pheasants
- Streaky bacon
- 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 sticks of celery
- Sage leaves
- Bottle of cider
- 2 eating apples
- 2 dessert apples
- Brown sugar (for baked dessert apples)
- Brown two pheasants and remove from pan.
- Chop an onion, streaky bacon, a carrot, and celery and fry off with butter in the pan you browned the pheasants in. Add a couple of leaves of sage.
- Return the pheasant to the pan, add the calvados, a pint of off-dry cider, and two chopped eating apples. Bring to the boil, then put in the oven for 25-30 minutes for 190°C.
- After taking out of the oven, remove pheasants, chop into portions and keep warm.
- Add half a pint of stock (as described below) to the liquid left in the pan, simmer for 15 minutes to reduce, and then stir in the cream.
- Pour the sauce over the pheasants and garnish with crispy bacon and sage leaves.
- Serve with baked dessert apples (core, half, and sprinkle with brown sugar).
Pheasant Stock (Developed from a recipe in The Field)
- Raw pheasant carcasses or leftover bones from a roast
- Per carcass: an onion (skin on, cut in half and pierced with 2 cloves), 1 stick celery, 1 unpeeled carrot, 2 peppercorns and 1 bay-leaf
- Some water
Roast carcasses in a hot oven for about 20 minutes with onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns and bay-leaf. (Not required with bones from a roast).
Simmer the carcasses (along with any small bones, juices, or roasted veg bits from the previous step) in a covered pan of water. 500ml should be about right for the recipe above. Long and slow is the aim of the game here – several hours at a low temperature is best!
Once the stock has a nice colour to it, and the taste has become gorgeously rich with pheasant flavours, it’s good to go! Strain into a bowl and refrigerate, allowing the flavours to develop and harmonise even further!
Two happy guns at the end of our day shooting at Forthampton.
I happened across this recipe in a somewhat haphazard manner. Following a busy week saving a day from cancellation, an extra brace of pheasants was gratefully received following the salvaged shoot – a thoroughly enjoyable 102 bird day around the smaller drives of the Forthampton Shoot in Gloucestershire. The pheasants were hung for just a couple of days as I was trying to win around a couple of friends to the joys of eating game (yes, I really should find some new friends…) Aside from a conscious decision to marinate the meat in wine with herbs and garlic, the rest was inspiration from the kitchen as I went along.
Madeira is a classic partner of pheasant, so it just seemed right. The smoked bacon adds a depth of flavour and provides some nice fat to counter the pheasant’s natural leanness. If you can get hold of it, I would heartily recommend a jar of Cumberland Sauce – it really does work brilliantly with game and cold meats; however, if you can’t get your hands on it, a combination of redcurrant jelly and a drop of port (plus a splash of orange liqueur, if you have some handy) should make an adequate substitute.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 8 pheasant breasts
- Smoked bacon lardons
- 2 medium onions, 2 sticks of celery, & 4 garlic cloves
- Red wine vinegar & Madeira to deglaze
- Bottle of red wine
- Chicken stock pot
- 2 parsnips and 4-6 carrots
- Dried mixed herbs, garlic granules, and salt & pepper
- Cumberland sauce & Worcestershire sauce
Preparation Time: 20 mins — Cooking Time: 2 hrs
- Begin by marinading the pheasant breasts overnight in red wine with garlic granules and dried herbs overnight. (You can replace the garlic granules with a couple of chopped cloves of garlic).
- Render the fat out of the lardons and fry until nicely cooked. Remove the lardons.
- Cut the pheasant into bite-sized pieces and dust in flour (with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper). Brown the pheasant in batches, using the rendered bacon fat. Remove the pheasant from the pan and keep to the side with the bacon.
- Thinly slice the onions and finely chop the garlic and celery. Soften the onions and celery in the pan, only adding the garlic once the onion is almost ready. The onions should be golden, not burnt! Add the meat back into the pan and deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a slug of Madeira. Add approximately half a bottle of red wine and chicken stock pot (or stock cube – no need to water down into a stock, the wine will do that job). Season with salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of dried mixed herbs.
- Meanwhile, dice the parsnips and carrots and par boil.
- Mix up some of the left-over flour with a splash of water until you have a paste – work it until the lumps have gone. Then add this to the stew. It will help to thicken up the wine and give the whole dish a lovely unctuous consistency. Add the parsnips and carrots when ready. Allow to slowly cook for around 90 minutes.
- To finish, add a good sized tablespoon of Cumberland sauce (or a drop of port and some redcurrant jelly if you can’t get hold of it) and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce. The former gives the dish a nice sweetness to offset the vinegar, whilst the latter adds a delectable savouriness to the dish.
It’s a hearty dish on its own, but if you want to serve it with a side dish, I find a green pea crush to be just the ticket. For this, cook up some floury potatoes and plenty of peas then crush them together with a dollop of crème fraîche and plenty of seasoning.
I’m just sorry I couldn’t provide a photo of the finished stew… It honestly didn’t last long enough, it was devoured in short-order.
EDIT… Have just made this stew again. Importantly, I remembered to take a photo: