Pheasant in Mushroom and Cream Sauce

bentley pheasant supreme

bentley pheasant supreme

January 11, 2013

A friend of mine sent me the above recipes a couple of days ago. I had a brace of pheasant in the fridge and thought both dishes sounded worth trying. However, I couldn’t help thinking that mushrooms should go in the first one and then I had some pancetta rather than bacon… Things got out of control and I ended up making something similar but different. I can’t for the life of me find these inspirational recipes on the web and the friend who sent them was house sitting so the book belongs to someone else. If anyone knows where these recipes come from please let me know, so that I can give credit where it’s due – in fact the book might be quite good and worth buying!

pheasant and stock vegetables

pheasant and stock vegetables

Pheasant in Mushroom and Cream Sauce recipe serves 2 greedy people):

1 large pheasant (plucked)
6 pieces of pancetta (chopped) or 4 slices of streaky bacon
1 large onion (peeled)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 small carrots
2 sticks of celery
6 pieces of garlic (peeled)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
8 button mushrooms (chopped)
a sprig of rosemary, sage and thyme
2 bay leaves
a pinch of sea salt and a few black peppercorns (8 or so)
ground sea salt
cracked black pepper
1 dessertspoonful of plain flour
3 dessertspoonfuls of crème fraîche
1 egg (beaten)
a knob of butter
olive oil
a splash of dry vermouth
1/2 lb stale sourdough bread turned into breadcrumbs
1 1/2 pints of water

skim off the foam

skim off the foam

For the stock:

Put the pheasant, herbs, 1 whole onion (peeled), carrots, celery, 6 pieces of garlic, the herbs, a pinch of sea salt and the 8 black peppercorns into a cast iron casserole, along with the water. Heat your oven to 150º C, while you bring the water in the casserole to almost boiling. Skim off any froth or scum on top of the water, place the lid on the casserole and put it in the oven for one hour. Do turn the pheasant over half way through. When done, remove the pheasant, allow it to cool and reserve the stock. When the pheasant is cool, remove and chop all the meat – discard the bones.


I used 1/2 lb of stale St. John sourdough bread, but you can buy breadcrumbs if necessary. If you’ve never made breadcrumbs before, I have some instructions here.



Once you have breadcrumbs, fry the chopped pancetta or bacon in some butter. When it’s crispy, stir in the breadcrumbs and allow to cook for a minute or so, then leave to cool.

 The main dish:

onions and mushrooms

onions and mushrooms

Fry the chopped onion in olive oil and when it goes translucent, stir in the chopped garlic and mushrooms. When the mushrooms have been coated in oil, sprinkle on the flour and stir it in. Add the chopped pheasant and pour on 1/2 a pint of stock. Allow this to bubble gently while you mix the egg and crème fraîche in a separate dish. Do use full fat French crème fraîche, the diet version is likely to split when heated.  When mixed, stir in some pheasant stock (up to half a pint) until it makes a  thick sauce.

cream sauce

cream sauce

Pour the sauce into the main pheasant dish along with a splash of dry vermouth. Stir everything in and taste. This is the time to add salt and pepper if necessary.

breadcrumbs and pancetta

breadcrumbs and pancetta

Allow the pheasant and cream to cool down for five minutes, then turn on the grill and sprinkle the pancetta and breadcrumb mixture on top of the casserole to cover the sauce.

pheasant in a cream sauce with breadcrumbs

pheasant in mushroom and cream sauce with breadcrumbs

Grill for 5 – 10 minutes, low down in the oven, until the breadcrumbs are crispy – do be careful not to burn them, so keep an eye on it.

I suspected that the breadcrumbs would absorb a lot of liquid, so I made up some additional cream sauce to go with the pheasant. Heat a knob of butter in a small saucepan and when it has melted stir in a dessertspoonful of flour to make a roux. Slowly mix in 2 dessertspoonfuls of crème fraîche, followed by some of the leftover pheasant stock until you have a thick cream pheasant sauce.

Serve the above with boiled potatoes and Brussels sprouts. I impressed myself, this was absolutely delicious, as I imagined, from the original  recipe.

I washed mine down with a glass or two of Marquesa de la Cruz, a Garnacha, Syrah, Mazuelo from Aragon.

Other pheasant posts

About Mad Dog
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43 Responses to Pheasant in Mushroom and Cream Sauce

  1. cecilia says:

    Oh dear.. that sounds so good, though of course I have never eaten pheasant, let alone a brace.I have eaten with braces but i think that is not then same! I loved the breadcrumb and pancetta topping with the sauce.. that really got my tastebuds going.. lovely recipe.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia – I’m sure the recipe would be good with guinea fowl or chicken. Perhaps you could get some pheasant eggs and grow your own. I bet with your Dr. Dolittle talents they’d stay close to home 😉

  2. ???

    I’ve never been v successful at cooking game. You’ve inspired me here..



    Sue Aron 07939 115311

    • Mad Dog says:

      Yes I found that, but no recipe and most supreme recipes refer to breast with the wing attached.
      Game’s fairly easy – it either has to be cooked quickly with fat (generally bacon) or braised. Good luck with it, there’s still a couple of weeks to go before the end of the season 😉

  3. I need a life where I just happen to have a brace of pheasant in the fridge….Looks lovely!

  4. Tessa says:

    Looks and sounds fabulous! I’m betting that this would be delicious spooned over some creamy polenta. Now I need to find some pheasant :).

  5. Michelle says:

    We don’t get pheasant here very often (and then only from some grow and release for hunters to kill type place, which is pretty sad). Though the bird is so delicious, and looks like you definitely did it justice here.

    • Mad Dog says:

      I can’t speak for the Americas, but as far as I know pheasants are generally hatched and released, but they do get to live most of their lives in the wild and it’s probably better to be shot in your natural habitat than being killed in an abattoir. The shooting season for pheasant in the UK is October 1st to February 1st. Quite a lot of them make it past February and breed naturally. Pheasant are not indigenous to the UK, they were probably brought here by the Romans for sport.

  6. Michelle says:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong—I’m definitely not anti-hunting. I couldn’t go home to even visit my father’s house if I was! I don’t think that pheasants were ever naturally here in this part of the US. The saddest thing is that some of our wonderful (and tasty!) indigenous game birds, like quail, are hardly here anymore except on game farms.

    • Mad Dog says:

      I can’t say I’m crazy about hundreds of birds being driven towards hunters. I’m far more in favour of walking around and shooting one or two birds for personal consumption. However, all those gun crazy stock brokers, shooting a hundred bids each, do provide the pheasant in the butchers for £7 a brace and in this country they will have had a few months a freedom.

  7. Eha says:

    From the moment I began with reading Celi’s incomparable reply, I have been laughing [that is healthy, isn’t it?]. Lovely recipe: would love to try! I happen to be anti-hunting, BUT not when ‘shooting for the table’ or ‘the pot’. You may have difficulty finding said book: from the print and the way the recipe is laid out, it could be 30-60 years old!!!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – I think you could be right – I suspect it could date back to the 1930’s, there’s definitely something old fashioned abut it, including the type face 🙂

  8. I really like pheasant, and the buggers are strutting around the lanes as though they own the place – which they do. The French save on ammunition and just knock them down with their cars.
    Unfortunately Jenny cannot bear game in any form, so the pheasants around our place are safe from me, at least.

  9. ChgoJohn says:

    I wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for pheasant around here. I wish I did, though. Even so, I just may take your suggestion to Celi and try it with chicken or fowl — if only I could remember where I saw guinea fowl. “What a drag it is getting old …”

  10. Gorgeous MD. I keep singing the praises of game like this to Big Man so I had better hurry up and get along to the local butcher and buy me a brace of pheasant. We are most definitely 2 greedy people!

  11. Conor Bofin says:

    Top post MD. I did one last year on the Island of Death, as I have renamed one of the islands in lough Derg in Tipperary. The birds are tame and the beaters need first to beat them away as they think they have come to feed them. Still, a nice bit of pheasant is a nice bit of pheasant.
    Lovely approach with the old book as a starting point.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Conor – wow the Island of Death – dinner that comes to you! It almost sounds like the meal in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe 😉

        • Mad Dog says:

          I’ve just been to the farmers’ market – I specifically wanted a wild duck, which are quite big and fairly cheap. I got the duck and the girl on the stall had some huge pheasants and she offered me a brace for £6 – how could I refuse? Next I went to buy vegetables and the farmer gave me a brace of partridge!
          One does have to look after the wild birds in winter 😉

          • Conor Bofin says:

            One does have to look after the stallholders too. My friend the Wicklow Hunter dropped me a leg of ‘trespass lamb’ and a leg of venison. Deer in the freezer. Preparing 4 mushroom stuffed leg of lamb with polenta for tonight’s dinner.

          • Mad Dog says:

            Excellent – I look forward to seeing it posted if you have the time to cook and photograph it 😉

  12. Karen says:

    You always make the most incredible dishes…this sounds like a wonderful meal.

  13. ¡Qué rico MD! Tienes unos amigos muy buenos 😉

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