As the season for our most prolific gamebird begins, it’s time to introduce friends and family to the joys of eating game. Philippa Davis offers a recipe using pheasant that works as a healthy and tasty light lunch

When introducing newcomers to the joys of eating game, I usually turn to pheasant as the ‘gateway’ meat to get them hooked and this pheasant salad works well as a tasty and healthy light lunch.

After I have given them my assurances that the flavour will not be overpowering (and that it will not come with a side of maggots), I like to throw in a few nutritional facts. My favourites being that pheasant has more protein, less fat and lower cholesterol than chicken.

If they are still hesitant, it’s time to show not tell. To show off its excellent and impressive nutritional values, this fresh and modern salad recipe with beetroot and spelt will work wonders and makes the most of the meat and hugely flavoursome stock.

For more ideas on how to cook pheasant take a look at this recipe for steamed pheasant breast en papillote or try pheasant schnitzel burger with British-style brie.


Serves 2 



  • 1 oven-ready pheasant
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 dsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp quality rape seed oil
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • 80g spelt or pearl barely
  • Pheasant or light game stock
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 dsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp quality rape seed oil


  • 2 tbsp horseradish
  • 1 dsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp quality rapeseed oil


  • 1 large cooked beetroot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium bitter lettuce, such as radicchio or chicory
  • 100g blackberries, sliced in half

Remove breasts and keep the skin on. Make a light stock from the rest of the bird. Pound the garlic to a paste with a little salt then mix with the thyme, 1 tablespoon oil and caraway seeds. Rub onto the flesh side of the breasts and place in the fridge until ready to cook.


Place the spelt or barley in a pan and cover with pheasant stock by 2cm. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, topping up if necessary.

Once cooked, drain away excess liquid, season and stir through the chopped parsley, mint, lemon juice and oil. Keep warm.

To cook the pheasant

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a cold frying pan. Season the breasts and place skin side down.

Turn the heat to low/medium and cook until golden and crispy (about 10 minutes).

Turn the breasts over, lower the heat and continue to fry gently until cooked through. Rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.


Whisk together the horseradish, lemon and oil.

To assemble

Toss the dressing through the beetroot and lettuce and pile onto your plate or platter.

Scatter over the spelt or barley and top with the blackberries and warm pheasant.