Put on an impressive feast with Philippa Davis' pheasant leg confit with leek, stilton and hazelnut crumble and whipped horseradish cream

Roasting a pheasant whole is magnificent for younger birds, but as the season presses on it is best to joint them. Philippa Davis’ pheasant leg confit with leek, stilton and hazelnut crumble and whipped horseradish cream involves a little more preparation, but the results will be tender and tasty and make an impressive feast.

For enough recipe inspiration to see you through the season – including, pasta, paella and polpette – follow The Field’s top 10 best pheasant recipes.


Serves 6

  • 12 pheasant legs, skin on
  • 40g coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp lightly crushed caraway seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 10 lightly crushed juniper seeds
  • 500g goose or duck fat


  • 3 x medium leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced into 1cm rings
  • 3 x medium yellow onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 x cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 120g stilton cheese, crumbled
  • 300g wholemeal flour
  • 150g hazelnuts, skinless and roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp caraway seeds
  • 150g cold salted butter


  • 200ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp hot Horseradish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the confit, rub the legs with salt and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

When ready to prepare, preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼.

Brush off the salt from the legs and place in an ovenproof dish along with the rest of the confit ingredients. The fat needs to cover the legs. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Leave to cool in the fat.

For the crumble,  preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

To make the base, in a pan on a medium heat season then sauté the leeks, onions, garlic and thyme in the butter and oil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the wine and cook until soft.

Take off the heat and add the cream, milk and stilton. Stir well and spoon into your crumble baking dish.

To make the topping, mix the flour, hazelnuts and caraway in a bowl.

Using the large side of a cheese grater grate in the butter and rub through the flour; mix using your fingertips.

Scatter on top of your leek base mix.

Bake for 20 minutes and then serve hot.

For the cream, whip the cream until thick then add the horseradish and lemon juice.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Remove the legs from the fat, wipe off any excess and place flat on a shallow roasting dish.

Roast for 20 minutes or until hot and golden.

Serve with the crumble and spoonfuls of horseradish cream.

The confit is also delicious with mashed potato or celeriac and a sherry vinegar dressed salad.