Braised pheasant with sloe gin and chestnuts

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Louise's braised pheasant recipe is a fantastic winter warmer. The birds are first browned, then slowly cooked with aromatic sloe gin, chestnuts and bacon for a surprisingly simple dish that is full of seasonal flavour. It's important that you have a well-fitting lid for your casserole pan, as this will help to keep the moisture in the pan, gently steaming the pheasants as they cook. This method of cooking ensures the birds stay nice and moist.

First published in 2018




Braised pheasants

To finish


  • Heavy-duty casserole dish with lid


Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, fry the shallots and bacon for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the chestnuts, cook for a few more minutes, then transfer the shallots, bacon and chestnuts to a heavy, lidded casserole pan using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle the juniper berries over the shallot and bacon mixture
Add the butter and remaining olive oil to the frying pan and season the pheasants inside and out. Once the butter is foaming, place the pheasants into the pan and brown on all sides. Tuck 2 sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf inside each pheasant and add to the casserole
Deglaze the frying pan with the white wine and add the sloe gin. Pour the liquid over the pheasants
Place the casserole pan over a medium heat and heat until simmering. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and continue to simmer for 40 minutes, until the pheasants are cooked through
When almost ready, fry the remaining bacon and chestnuts in a little butter, until golden
Remove the pheasants from the casserole and skim off any excess fat from the cooking juices, using a spoon. Increase the heat and allow the sauce to reduce and slightly thicken
Garnish with the bacon and chestnuts, and a little parsley. Serve with mashed potato or celeriac and seasonal greens on the side

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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