With the vagaries of traffic bent on scuppering arrival times, this pheasant casserole provides a warm welcome whatever time guests appear at the door

As a guest there is much to enjoy about an invitation to spend the weekend in the country. Cosy, made-up bedrooms; arranged entertainment; and an array of feasts prepared by someone else. All you have to do is be good company, and turn up and leave when told. For a host to enjoy the weekend as much as the rest of the party, careful planning is required. First, planning is key. Write out a full menu of every meal from Friday to Sunday, including breakfasts and afternoon teas. This will help ensure nothing gets missed off the shopping list. Secondly, having guests is a great time to support and show off food and drink producers local to you. From gin and charcuterie to honey and cheese, such produce will be greatly admired and appreciated, as will the effort you have made in sourcing and serving something truly special. This pheasant casserole is sure to impress any guest.


pheasant casserole


Serves 8

Pheasant casserole

4 whole pheasants

8 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

4 medium red onions, peeled and finely sliced

8 sticks celery, washed and chopped into 2cm pieces

8 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half

4 bay leaves

4 tsp dried oregano

A large pinch of dried chilli

3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

200ml dry white wine

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

Cheesy triangles

400g puff pastry, ready rolled

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water

150g strong cheddar, grated


Pheasant casserole

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/Gas Mark 4.

Skin and debone the pheasants then chop the breast and leg meat into large bite-sized pieces. Use the bones and skin to make a stock, which can be frozen and used at a later date.

In a large casserole dish on a medium heat, season and brown the meat in 2 tablespoons of oil then remove to a bowl. You can do this in batches if needed.

In the same dish sauté the onions, celery and garlic in the rest of the oil until lightly browned and softened.

Stir in the bay leaves, oregano and chilli, cook for 1 minute then add the tomatoes and wine. Season and bring to a simmer before returning the pheasant and any of its juice.

Place the lid on the casserole dish and cook for 1-1½ hours, stirring after 30 minutes.

Once the pheasant is cooked and tender, stir through the mustard and parsley and check the seasoning.

This can now be kept warm until ready to serve. Alternatively it can be cooled, stored in the fridge then reheated when required.

Cheesy triangles

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/Gas Mark 6.

Brush the puff pastry with the egg yolk then scatter over the grated cheddar.

Cut into 16 triangles then lay out on a flat baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed, cooked and golden.

Allow to cool and reheat when needed.

To serve

Heat the triangles for a few minutes in a warm oven then serve on top of spoonfuls of hot casserole. Perfect with steamed kale or buttery mashed potato.