Pheasant with Gammon

pheasant in gammon stock

Last week, as you recall, I cooked a Basque dish called Alubias de Tolosa con Sacramentos – when I’d eaten the beans (alubias) I was left with about 1 1/2 pints stock and most of the meat from a gammon knuckle. The obvious thing to make with gammon and stock is pea and ham soup, but I had a pheasant in the fridge which needed eating and I though it would go well with cured pork.

cooking gammon

Gammon Stock recipe:

1 gammon knuckle
1 stick celery (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 large onion, (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled)
2 pints water
Extra virgin olive oil
1 slice pork belly (optional)
2 morcillas de cebolla (optional)
2 chorizos (optional)

Note that the optional ingredients were needed in the previous Alubias de Tolosa con Sacramentos recipe, but can be omitted here, if cooking from scratch.

Ideally soak the gammon knuckle overnight, then, using a large cast iron casserole, fry a chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil until it goes translucent and stir in the carrots, celery and garlic. Rinse the soaked gammon and place it on top of the vegetables before pouring on 2 pints of water. Bring almost to a boil and scoop off any scum that comes to the surface before covering with a lid and removing to a preheated oven at 150º C. Turn the gammon every hour or so. It will take about 3 1/2 hours before the knuckle is tender.

browned pheasant

Pheasant in Gammon Stock recipe (serves 3):

1 pheasant
1 1/2 pints gammon stock and meat (from the above stock recipe)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 stick celery (chopped)
6 juniper berries (crushed)
1 teaspoon pimentón de la vera dulce
1 teaspoon pimentón de la vera picante
a squirt tomato purée
a splash or two of sherry vinegar (to taste)
a dessertspoon plain flour
2 bay leaves
olive oil
cracked black pepper


First, brown the pheasant all over in extra virgin olive oil to caramelise the sugars in the meat. Remove the pheasant to a plate and using the same cast iron casserole and oil, fry the onion until it goes translucent and then add the other vegetables and juniper berries.

flour and pimentón

Squirt in the tomato purée  and sprinkle on the pimentón and flour – mix in to make a roux.

gammon jelly

The gammon stock set beautifully in the fridge like brawn. This is due to large amounts of gelatine in the knuckle bone and skin, which is where jelly comes from.

gammon jelly stock

Mix the jelly into the casserole with the vegetables. As it becomes warm, the jelly will melt.

bubbling stock

Within a few minutes, you’ll have a bubbling stock. Season with cracked black pepper – no salt required when cooking with gammon! Add a splash of sherry vinegar to taste, along with 2 bay leaves.

browned pheasant in stock

Return the pheasant to the casserole, put the lid on and place in a preheated oven at 150ºC for 90 – 120 minutes, turning the bird occasionally. The time is not critical after an hour and a half, at which point the lid can be removed to thicken the sauce a little – do turn the breast side down to keep it moist.

celeriac balls

Serve with fried celeriac balls and a glass of robust red wine, such as La Niña Roja.

About Mad Dog
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13 Responses to Pheasant with Gammon

  1. Pingback: Alubias de Tolosa con Sacramentos | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  2. Eha says:

    Saw a problem as pheasants somewhat hard to access in rural Australia. Solved a problem so the beautiful gammon stock set in the fridge like brawn ! But I love brawn and make it so often, Nordic style naturally 🙂 ! So, since I may use both black pudding and chorizo in the making of it, I wonder may my tastebuds tingle at this ‘Catalan brawn’? Only one interesting way to find out once the fiery temps depart north !!

  3. Michelle says:

    The pheasant looks good, but celeriac balls? That’s brilliant!

  4. Ron says:

    Mad, your pheasant in gammon stock looks wonderful. I’m thinking, should one not have a pleasant lying about the dish would be a worthy meal without the bird. Our gammon over this way is usually boiled and served with a root mash and peas. I like the looks of yours a lot better. I’ve got to try this, but perhaps without Mr. Pheasant.

  5. Conor Bofin says:

    MD, this is fantastic. I would have been tempted to put your “stock” out into a loaf tin and chill it. It would be a delight on toast.

  6. Looks amazing, bet it tasted fantastic…gelatine adds so much flavour! And as for those celeriac balls 😀

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