French for 'in parchment', Philippa Davis steamed pheasant breast en papillote is wonderfully moist and tender

Steamed food has a bad reputation, and Philippa Davis is on a mission to put this right. Her steamed pheasant breast en papillote with cider, black garlic butter and spring vegetables makes for a wonderfully moist and tender supper.

For more ingenious suppers made from steamed food try our steamed venison dumplings with lime and soy dipping sauce.


This pheasant dish is cooked in a parchment and foil parcel (‘en papillote’  is French for ‘in parchment’) keeping it wonderfully moist and tender as well as creating a spectacularly flavourful sauce.

Serves 2


  • Black garlic butter
  • 100g salted butter
  • 2 cloves black garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


  • 2 skinless pheasant breasts
  • 250g waxy potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 100g carrots, thinly sliced
  • 6 radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 100g leek, finely sliced
  • 80g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200g cider

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan/325°F/gas mark 3 and place a flat baking sheet on the middle shelf.

Mix the black garlic butter ingredients together and season with a little pepper.

Cut two pieces of foil and baking parchment, about the size of an open copy of The Field magazine.

For each parcel, lay the parchment on top of the foil, make a thin bed with the potatoes and season, place the watercress on top then the carrots, radish, spring onions, leek and broccoli, season well then top with the pheasant, butter and thyme.

Fold and seal three sides, then add the lemon juice and cider before sealing the last side.

Bake for 20-25 minutes on the hot baking tray.

Check to see if the potatoes and pheasant are cooked in one of the parcels. If not, reseal and return to the oven until done.

Place the parcels on a plate and allow everyone to unwrap their own carefully to get the full steamy aroma experience.