Pheasant Braised with Leeks and Mushrooms

Here is the ‘improvised’ recipe I promised earlier this week, for the tail end of the hunting season. The recipe uses a fair amount of added fat, because game birds tend to be quite lean, and I have chosen to not bard the pheasant. The first portion of fat is used partly to brown the bird and partly to season the mushrooms. The second portion is required for the self-forming gravy. Feel free to adjust the suggested amounts to suit your needs.

Pheasants available in the market this year were much bigger than in recent years, weighing nearly 2 pounds, with much of that being edible meat, so there were plenty of leftovers in our small household. If you also expect leftovers, don’t forget to plan how to use them. Do note that there’s virtually no wing meat (if wings are there!) and the drumsticks are full of pin bones, so they are best used by carefully cleaning the meat off the bones for leftovers. And please, please be careful with the birdshot, which is not edible, and might just break a tooth.

Serves 4, plus leftovers


Generous dollop: up to 1/4 cup Fat: butter, bacon grease, etc
1 large Pheasant
1 tablespoon Dark orange marmalade
6-8 Largish ordinary mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 large or 2 small Leek(s), cleaned and sliced in thick rings
Smaller dollop: not more than a tablespoon or two Fat: butter, bacon grease, etc
1 or 2  tablespoons: at least as much as the fat Plain flour
dash Salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup Dry sherry


  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C/gas mark 6.
  2. Melt fat in a generous-sized non-stick pan.

    Picture of spoonful of fat in frying pan

    Goose fat melts quickly and adds a sympathetic flavour to game birds.

  3. While the fat is heating, make sure there are no foreign objects in the bird cavity, then smear the marmalade all over the inside. This adds flavour and the citric acid contributes to tenderizing the meat. You can wipe excess marmalade from the spoon on the outside of the bird if you wish. Tuck the feet (if present) back in, or tie the legs together for easy handling.

    Picture of marmalade, with bird in background

    Home-made bitter Seville orange marmalade

  4. Brown the bird on all sides over medium high heat.

    Picture of pheasant browning in frying pan

    See how thin the skin is!

  5. Transfer the pheasant only to a large lidded casserole, leaving the fat in the pan. Put the lid on the casserole and set aside, but keep it handy.
  6. Toss the mushroom slices in the hot fat. They will absorb all of it, quickly. Add them to the casserole, replacing the lid, and return the frying pan to the heat.
  7. Melt the second lot of fat over medium heat.
  8. Add the leeks. When well coated and starting to cook, add the flour, salt and pepper.
  9. When the dry ingredients are well distributed, add the sherry.
  10. When well mixed, add to the casserole. Replace lid.
  11. Place in oven and reduce heat immediately to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
  12. Allow to cook undisturbed for 45 minutes. Juices will run clear when meat is cooked, although the flesh may remain pink, especially near bones.
  13. Allow to rest in the covered casserole for at least 5 minutes before removing to carve.Picture of cooked casserole
  14. Upon removal of the bird, a gravy-like sauce magically appears. Stir gently before serving.
  15. Serve with a simple starch such as boiled potatoes or steamed rice, allowing the seasonal flavours of the main dish to shine.

    Picture of serving of pheasant, potatoes and veg.

    We had generous portions of sliced breast meat.

I'm an American living in the UK, combining rural Mid-west ideas about food with a suburban coastal British reality. It's fun!

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Posted in Eating seasonally, Recipes
5 comments on “Pheasant Braised with Leeks and Mushrooms
  1. […] one: Pheasant Braised with Leeks and Mushrooms, boiled […]


  2. Gale Wright says:

    This sounds delicious plus fun to make! I have never made a game bird, but I want to now….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mom says:

    Nice! Very easy method of cooking the whole bird. Makes my mouth water, almost tasting the flavors.

    Liked by 1 person

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Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
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