The pheasant is the most plentiful of Britain’s game species and probably one of the best known. Most of us can recognise these attractive long-tailed gamebirds. The males have distinctive brown and black markings on their bodies along with a dark green head and red face whilst the hens are more camouflaged with mottled feathers in a paler brown and black.
Pheasants have been in the UK for many hundreds of years but they are not natives as they were introduced by roman settlers in the first century. Now you can find pheasants in most parts of the country, apart from the far north. Typically they are spotted in more rural areas alongside wooded areas fields and hedges.
Pheasant season in the UK begins on the first of October and ends the first of February. They start to appear in shops from the second week of the month. You can find a list of all the game seasons here >>
Once cleaned and plucked they make a fine meal the flavours go well with many other autumnal flavours such as apples, berries, mushrooms and chestnuts.
Almost any chicken recipe can be adapted to cook pheasant. Don’t forget that like most game pheasant has far less fat so take care not to dry out the meat when cooking. To avoid this many recipes either casserole the pheasant with plenty of sauce and the lid on, or when roasting use bacon wraps and/or butter to baste it and keep it moist. As a rule of thumb the younger birds at the beginning of the season will be delicious roasted. The older pheasants in the new year are best pot-roasted or used in casseroles.
One pheasant will serve two to three people depending on its size and can be served slightly pink.
We have lots of different recipes for cooking these tasty birds follow the links below to find a good match for your appetite or occasion: