Tom Godber-Ford Moore's pheasant polpette in an agrodolce sauce is essentially fancy meatballs, but it is a surefire favourite with guns for eleveneses

Game works marvellously with Mediterranean influences, as Tom Godber-Ford Moore proves with his pheasant polpette in an agrodolce sauce. Essentially a posh word for meatballs, this polpette will be a surefire elevenses favourite with the guns.

For more pheasant recipe inspiration, read the top 10 best pheasant recipes. From a broth ideal for elevenses to an impressive roast for a supper party, there’s no need to fill up the freezer, get your bag straight on the table.


Yes, polpette is pretty much just a posh word for meatball, the only difference being you’ll find these being eaten with a cocktail stick in a Venetian bar, just as we do at elevenses, rather than nestling in a plate of spaghetti. However, with a good glug of olive oil and lashings of parmesan, that’s pretty good, too.

Serves 4

For the polpette

  • 1  onion, finely chopped
  • Salt, pepper and olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Good pinch chilli flakes
  • 1½ tbsp toasted fennel seeds, roughly ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 40g breadcrumbs
  • 4 pheasant breasts, roughly minced in a food processor
  • 200g fat-minced pork
  • 1 egg
  • Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Good pinch dried oregano
  • Zest 1 lemon

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tins decent chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, roughly ground
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • Handful roughly chopped parsley

Put all the ingredients for the tomato sauce (except the parsley) in a pan and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sweat the onion with some olive oil and salt gently in a pan for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and ground fennel seeds and fry for a further minute. Add the breadcrumbs, then allow to cool.

Mix this well with the pheasant breast and pork mince, the egg and the parsley, oregano and lemon zest, then add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Form the mixture into golf ball shapes and fry off until well browned.

Put the polpette into the tomato sauce and cook gently for a further five minutes, until cooked through, then stir in the remaining parsley.