As temperatures start to fall, thoughts turn from fresh spring flavours and vibrant summer fare to spicier dishes that warm one from within. And pheasant, as always, is the perfect choice, says Philippa Davis

These tasty morsels make a fantastic canapé, starter or elevenses and will surely please the fussiest gun or guest.



Makes 12 balls

Tahini dip

2 tbsp tahini

2 tsp lemon juice

1 medium clove garlic, finely ground to a paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp cold water

Spicy crispy pheasant balls

2 pheasant breasts, skin off

120g sausage meat

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

70g cooked rice, cooled


25g plain flour

1 medium free-range egg mixed with 1 tbsp milk or water

35g panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for deep frying


Tahini dip

In a bowl mix the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and oil with a little salt and pepper. It will thicken.

Slowly whisk in the water until you have reached double cream consistency.

Cover and keep cool.

Spicy crispy pheasant balls

Roughly chop the pheasant breasts and place in a food processor. Lightly pulse until finely chopped.

Add in the sausage meat, parsley, coriander, cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes and some salt and pepper. Pulse until combined.

Tip into a bowl and mix in the rice. Form into 12 equal-sized balls.

Coating and frying

Place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls.

Dip each of the balls into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and lay on a tray. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In a deep fryer, or heavy-based deep pan, heat your frying oil to around 160°C.

Deep-fry the balls in batches until the meat is cooked and the outside is golden, then place on a tray lined with kitchen paper.

Serve hot with the tahini dip.