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Pot Roast Pheasant

Pot Roast Pheasant

Pot-Roast Pheasant

This recipe shows you how to stove-top pot roast pheasant and how to serve it with shallots and caramelized apple pieces. 

The recipe is based on a Delia Smith pot-roast pheasant recipe that I recently adapted to suit the ingredients that I had to hand. This recipe uses skinned pheasants. 


the meat of a brace of pheasants

The meat of a brace of pheasant


This is a perfect winter recipe, as the shooting season for pheasants in the UK is between October and February. So as an alternative to a roast Turkey or Chicken, if you need something for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is a perfect recipe. Two pheasants will feed four people well.

I was asked to cook this recently in October when one of my sisters turned up with a brace of pheasant from a shoot. The other sister provided the modified ingredients and Delia’s very good recipe.

browning pheasants

Sealing the pheasant


My Mum provided the kitchen and utensils, where these pictures were taken (on my phone).

How to prepare your pheasant

I had never cooked pheasant before I had cooked these ones. I have eaten them many times and enjoy the taste of the game bird enormously.


frying pheasant

Browned pheasant meat


The taste differs depending on how long your pheasant has been hung. They say you should hang your pheasant for at least three days, depending on the temperature. You should hang the bird intact with innards from its neck.

hanging pheasants

Hanging pheasant. The cock (male) is the one with the coloured head


The longer you hang them the gamier they will taste. The hens had been hung for about 3-4 days.

We decided to skin our pheasants before cooking them. I had never done this before either but was helped a lot by watching this video which showed me how to do it.

Delia, I believe, uses whole, plucked pheasants in her recipe, which hence includes the skin. This version of the recipe does not. 

This original recipe reminds me of the well-known tongue twister:

I’m not a pheasant plucker, I’m a pheasant plucker’s son, 

But I’ll be plucking pheasants till the pheasant plucker comes……

Try saying that quickly, after a few Brandies (and make sure there are no kiddies around!) 

pheasant casserole


I believe it is easier to completely skin than to dry pluck the pheasant, which takes more time (I have no tongue twister for skinning a pheasant though!).

It is also easier to serve the pheasant up in pieces, rather than carving the bird later.

It only took us 5 minutes to skin each bird. After skinning you then remove the innards and clean the bird. We then separated the legs and breasts into manageable pieces that would fit into our casserole dish.

The meat of the legs was still on the bone.

stove top pot roast

After flambéing the pheasant

Cooking with cider

Using cider as the main liquid for the braising of the bird is pure brilliance. It perfectly complements the taste of the meat and tenderizes it further during cooking. I used Brandy in this recipe, but Armagnac is also fine.

Delia uses Calvados in her recipe, which is an Apple Brandy only produced in Normandy. You may have some trouble procuring Calvados, depending on where you are.

But if you do not have any, do not fret, brandy does the job just fine. The cider will do its work with the apple taste as well as the caramelised apples.


pot roast pheasant recipes uk

Recipe Pheasant Casserole

Once you have prepared this recipe it is easy to just let it simmer away on the hob, while you prepare the vegetables to go with it. I served up here with some simply boiled carrots, that I boiled together in the same pan as the potatoes for the mashed potato.  

The sweet caramelized apples complement the taste of the pheasant perfectly and together with the shallots and cider gravy the combination is delicious.


pot roast pheasant

Pot roast pheasant with shallots and apples


There are many ways you can cook a pheasant, but this pot-roasted pheasant recipe casserole is a delight, and to be recommended if you can get your hands on a nice brace of pheasant.

If you need a good pot to cook this in, why not try Uno Casa? They have some great affordable cast iron casserole pots like this one below:



I hope you enjoy trying out this recipe. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below! 

Hot to pot-roast pheasant

pheasant pot roast

Pot Roast Pheasant with Shallots and Apple

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

This tasty pot-roast pheasant recipe with shallots and caramelized apples is a winter favorite. A great recipe for after-the-shoot. A delicious alternative at Xmas or Thanksgiving.


  • 2 pheasants, skinned with the giblets removed
  • 50ml Brandy or Armagnac
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 shallots
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 880ml (2 cans) apple cider
  • Freshly ground Salt and Pepper

For the sauce

  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp salted butter

For the caramalised apples

  • 2 apples with core removed, cut into 1/8ths
  • 50g salted butter
  • 100g caster sugar


  1. Make sure your pheasants have been properly prepared (see the body of the blog text). Season the pheasant pieces well with salt and pepper then melt the butter and oil in a skillet and brown them on all sides. You may need to do this in batches. While the pheasant is frying, peel your shallots.
  2. When browned, place the pheasant pieces in your stovetop casserole (you will need a tight-fitting lid - I used a trusty Le Creuset). Then saute the shallots in the remainder of the fat in the skillet, until browned. Add them to the casserole.
  3. Then in the same skillet add the brandy or Armagnac and heat it on the hob. Then light the brandy and pour it while still burning over the pheasant and shallots in the casserole.
  4. Add the bay leaf and the chopped thyme sprigs and the cider. Close the lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 75 minutes until the meat is tender.
  5. About one hour into the braising, prepare the apples. First heat your grill.
  6. Then chop the apples into 1/8th segments, keeping the skin on. Then melt some butter in the microwave, and use it to coat the apple pieces, before covering them in the sugar.
  7. Place the apples on some tin foil and place under the grill (broiler) for about 5 minutes. Then turn over and caramelize the other side.
  8. To make the gravy, remove the pheasant pieces and shallots to a warm place. Remove and discard the bay leaf and bring the remaining liquid to a boil.
  9. Then mix the butter and corn flour together and add to the liquid, whisking as you go to remove any lumps. When thickened, taste and season if required.


Serve up with some mashed potatoes and steamed or boiled vegetables. Garnish with the caramelized apples and cover with the cider gravy.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 654Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 228mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 6gSugar: 49gProtein: 32g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Some accompaniments:
Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts Recipe
Best Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
Mashed Potato Recipe - Make the creamiest Mash
Baked Carrots with Garlic

And some other roast dinners for Christmas or Thanksgiving:

Pot Roast Leg of Lamb
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Roast Chicken Dinner
Roast Rack of Pork with Crispy Crackling
Rack of Lamb with a Port Sauce
Irish Rib Roast on the Bone

Or some other main dishes using apples:

Pork Normandy


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