Roast pheasant, parsnip hash, baby leeks and prunes

  • medium
  • 2
  • 1 hour 30 minutes

Pheasant, parsnips, baby leeks and a rich game jus – this recipe by Joe Fox is a wonderful celebration of British winter produce. The idea of cooking pheasant can seem a bit daunting but this method couldn't be easier – Joe roasts the crown for ten minutes, then rests the bird and carves. This recipe also works with chicken, if you'd prefer a different bird.

First published in 2020

Pheasant makes a great alternative to chicken. Oven-ready pheasants are plentiful in the autumn and winter months – you'll need to visit a butcher, though, or buy online. Pheasant has a mild gamey flavour that isn't too overpowering, and one pheasant easily feeds two people.

Joe cooks his pheasant crown on the bone before removing the breasts. He removes the legs and wings beforehand and saves them for another dish – you could keep the wings to use in the stock, and the legs are great in a casserole.




Game jus


  • 5cm pastry cutter


Start by making the game jus. Melt the butter in a large stockpot and brown the pheasant carcasses in the butter until golden brown
Add the bay leaves, thyme, carrot, onion and celery to the pot and cook until the vegetables have softened (around 5 minutes)
Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, orange zest and allspice berries and cook for a minute. Drain any excess fat out of the pan, then add the red wine and Marsala and reduce by two-thirds
Add the chicken stock and leave the jus to simmer for an hour or so, until you have a nice glossy sauce. Skim any fat/impurities from the top when necessary, then taste for seasoning, pass through a muslin cloth and set aside to reheat before serving
Preheat an oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4
Combine the prunes and Madeira in a bowl and leave to soak
Bring a pan of water to the boil and par-boil the parsnips (around 5 minutes). Allow to cool, then coarsely grate and mix with the egg white, allspice and a large pinch of salt and pepper. The mixture should be quite firm
With the parsnip mixture ready, colour the pheasant in a frying pan with a knob of butter, so the skin is a nice golden brown colour. Roast the pheasant in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and rest for another 10 minutes
Whilst the pheasant is resting, finish the parsnip hash. Divide the parsnip mixture in half, then press each half into a 5cm cutter or metal ring so the hash is about 2cm high. Shallow fry the hash in vegetable oil on both sides until it is golden brown and cooked through, then remove and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm in a low oven or in the pan until ready to serve
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the leeks for 3-4 minutes until soft. Drain and toss with a knob of butter and keep warm
Drain the prunes and place them in the game jus. Let them sit in there for a couple of minutes while reheating the jus before you serve
Carve the pheasant breasts off the bone and plate the parsnip hash, with a pheasant breast on top and some baby leeks. Finish with a few prunes and the jus and serve

Joe Fox is a London-based chef, specialising in modern British cuisine inspired by seasonality and the Slow Food movement.

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