With cold weather comes comfort food. Try Philippa Davis' pheasant, madeira and kale pie with cheddar and caraway pastry to warm the cockles

Philippa Davis’ pheasant, madeira and kale pie with cheddar and caraway pastry makes the perfect comfort food supper for when the temperatures drop. Rich and creamy, the cooking method ensures the meat stays moist and tender. Or multiply the ingredients and serve it for shoot lunch.

It’s hard to beat pheasant baked in a pie. For something a little different, try Anna Burges-Lumsden’s rabbit, pheasant and bacon pie.


The perfect way to use up your brace – or introduce others to the taste of game. This pie serves two – simply multiply the ingredients to cater for the correct number of guns and guests.

Serves 2

  • 1 pheasant
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 100g smoked lardons
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 70g raw kale, blanched in boiling, salted water until just cooked
  • 1 x sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 20cm wide x 4cm deep circular pie dish


  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g cold lard
  • 50g cold butter
  • 50g strong cheddar
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2-4 tbsp ice-cold water


  • 50g butter
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 20g finely chopped tarragon
  • 35ml Madeira or cream sherry

Place the flour in a bowl and grate in the butter, lard and cheddar using the large holes on the grater. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds and mix well.

Add enough iced water to bring the dough together into a disk.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry and line your pie dish. Trim the edges and rest in the fridge for one hour.

To make the filling, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Place the pheasant in a large pot of cold water and bring to a simmer; cook for one hour or until the bird is cooked through.

Remove from the pan (keep the liquid for stock), leave to cool then remove the meat and cut into small chunks.

In another saucepan, sauté the onions, celery and lardons in the olive oil until soft, take off the heat and stir in the blanched kale and chopped pheasant. Check for seasoning.

To make the sauce, in a saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour, slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the crème fraîche, tarragon and madeira and season.

Stir the sauce into the pheasant mix then pour into the pie dish.

Top with puffed pastry, using a pie bird or add a few slits in the top to let out steam.

Mix the egg yolk and milk together and brush the top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is piping hot and the pastry golden brown.