This perfect roast pheasant recipe was developed after adding wine to the pan to keep the bird moist and experimenting with different ingredients

The perfect roast pheasant recipe was something of an accident, but it has earned its place on The Field’s top 10 best pheasant recipes, and looks set to stay there.

Using rosé wine or leftover sparkling pink prosecco adds a surprising lightness to the dish, unlike the more robust pheasant guidwife recipe which plumps for red.

The perfect roast pheasant recipe came about after a top tip from the wife of a manic shooting friend who had to contend with the pheasant ‘loot’ brought home every single weekend of the season.

To roast any gamebird, put half an inch of wine in the pan to help keep the bird moist and tender. This particular recipe is a take on that tip, which started out as a “what if I did it like this” question and ended up as a firm family favourite, and the perfect roast pheasant recipe.

Serves 4

■ Sea salt and black pepper
■ 2 pheasants (young hens are best)
■ Olive oil
■ 1 pack (100g or 31⁄2oz) pancetta lardons
■ 1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
■ 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped into slithers
■ 2 juniper berries crushed with a few black peppercorns
■ 700g (241⁄2oz) charlotte potatoes, cut on the diagonal into 3 pieces
■ 6 rashers pancetta or streaky bacon
■ 2 large glasses rosé wine (or leftover sparkling pink prosecco)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Salt and pepper the pheasants. In the bottom of a large, cast-iron casserole, heat a glug of olive oil and brown the pheasants all over. Set aside. Tip in the lardons and fry until nearly crisp on a high heat. Add the onion, turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously until soft. Add the garlic, a small scatter of sea salt, crushed juniper berries and peppercorns and cook for a further minute. Add the potatoes and stir it all together.

Sit the pheasants on top and cover the breasts with the pancetta rashers or bacon. Heat the wine and pour it over. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 45 mins to an hour.