A pot roast pheasant recipe can be delicious. Fennel is not to everyone's taste, but it melts into a buttery stickiness when cooked in this way. Try it.

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Pot roast pheasant can seem like a case of ‘same old, same old’. But not with this delicious variant, which earns its place among the top 10 best pheasant recipes. The aniseed flavour of fennel is not to everyone’s taste, but its zingy freshness melds pleasingly into sticky mass that pairs well with the birds, young or old. If you have old birds just cook them in the pot for half an our longer.

This pot roast pheasant recipe came about because I had an excess of fennel in my fridge. A happy accident and one that I would recommend you try. And it is ideal for using up that lurking bottle of Pernod – every drinks cupboard tends to have one and it is pretty difficult to finish a bottle. If you don’t have Pernod, use martini, vermouth or a dry sherry.

Pheasant is often associated with mounds of mash and sometimes heavy sauces, but unlike pheasant Guidwife this pot roast pheasant recipe can be served with a light salad which makes a refreshing change.

It is also a simple dish that can be managed by the novice, with a minimal amount of fuss. The one pot philosophy works well with pheasant and is easy to prepare ahead to just remove form the oven when guests arrive.

Serves 4

■ Salt and pepper
■ 2 pheasants
■ 70g (21⁄2oz) butter
■ 1 onion, peeled and diced
■ 4 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
■ 150ml (5fl oz) Pernod

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Salt and pepper the pheasants. Brown them in butter in a flameproof, cast-iron casserole. Set aside, then brown the onion lightly.

Add the pheasants, breast up, and pack the fennel pieces tightly around them. Season well, then pour in the alcohol. Put on the lid and place in the oven for 11⁄2 hours if the pheasants are young and two if old.

This goes well with a tomato, feta and olive salad and new potatoes with butter and chopped dill.