Festive recipe: three-way cooked pheasant

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Try your hand at head chef Jean-Didier Gouges’s show-stopping ‘Three-way cooked festive pheasant’, packed full of delicious festive flavours.


Medium-sized pheasant from your local butcher
400g spinach, washed
500g butter, unsalted
300g black olives, pitted
1 medium egg
1 tbsp. plain flour
100g panko breadcrumbs
300g frozen peas
500g red desiree potatoes
Salt and pepper
Sage leaves

For the jus:

3 shallots, diced
750ml red cooking wine
3 beef bouillon cubes


1. Wash the black olives and pre-heat the oven to 120 degrees centigrade. Place the olives on parchment paper on a baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until hard and dry. Leave to cool.

2. For the jus, begin by frying the diced shallots, thyme and bay leaves in a pan with vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. Then, add the beef bouillon, red wine and reduce by two thirds. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve.

3. Take the pheasant and divide it into French-cut portions, removing the breast and the drumsticks with the thighs. If you are not confident in this, ask your butcher beforehand for assistance. Ensure that all feathers are removed from the bird and place the breast meat in the fridge.

4. Place the drumstick with the thighs into a baking dish and melt 250g butter to cover the meat. Add one clove of garlic, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary to the baking dish. Season and cover with foil and place it into the oven, still at 120 degrees centigrade. Leave to cook for approximately 1 hour.

5. Peel your potatoes and slice thinly before leaving in cold water for three minutes. Grease a medium-sized loaf tin with butter and rub with garlic. Then, remove the potatoes from the water and leave to dry on a clean tea towel. Layer the tin with the potatoes until 3cm deep and season before adding the other 250g butter, melted. Place in the oven at 120 degrees centigrade and leave to cook for 1.5 hours.

6. Pour 450ml cold water and bring to the boil, then add the peas and remove from the heat immediately. Use a blender to blitz the peas and water into a smooth purée. If the mixture is too thick, simply add a little water but ensure it can still hold its form on a spoon. Clingfilm and place in the fridge ready for later.

7. Remove the thighs and drumsticks from the oven and slice the meat from the thigh bones. Take some redcurrants and add it to the shredded thigh meat and shape into two croquette balls before placing in the fridge to set. Set the drumsticks on a big baking tray and reserve.

8. Use a blender to blitz the dry olives into a fine powder and set aside.

9. Check the potatoes are ready by testing that a knife can move smoothly through them. Then, place a sheet of baking paper on top of the potatoes and weigh it down to compress the mixture so that it sets once cool.

10. Remove the croquettes from the fridge and dust them with flour. Take an egg and break into a bowl with a pinch of salt and mix together very gently. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Drop the croquettes into the egg mix and once covered, pane them into the breadcrumbs, completely covering them.

11. Cut the potato into smaller sections and put them on the baking tray with the drumsticks. Reserve.

12. Cook the pheasant breast in a very hot pan with a bit of olive oil, garlic and thyme for about 2 minutes on each side. Then, place the breast on the same tray with the potatoes and add a spoon of butter on top. Roast the breast, the drumsticks and the potato in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 12 minutes.

13. Using the same pan, add a bit more olive oil and cooked the croquettes. Fry to give them some colour before putting them into the oven next to the breast and potato for 10 minutes.

14. Drain the oil from the pan and sautée the spinach with butter, salt and pepper.

15. Finally, on each plate, spoon on the pea purée, place the spinach in the middle with the pheasant breast on top and add the croquettes, drumstick and potatoes to the sides. Pour over the thick and hot jus and finish the dish with fresh redcurrants and the powdered black olives.

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