Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Roast pheasant and bread sauce

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
From Raymond Blanc: How to Cook Well
Try to order your pheasants from a butcher that has hung them for a minimum of 6-7 days. Look for a rich, soft and fruity wine to serve - say a Pinot Noir from the Côte de Nuits, or one of the very good wines from Oregon.


  1. For the roasted pheasant, preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

  2. On a medium heat, in a ovenproof frying pan, heat the rapeseed oil and butter (if using) until foaming.

  3. Lay the pheasants in the pan, cook until golden-brown in colour (about 3-5 minutes) on the leg sides. Turn the pheasants onto their breast side to colour for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. To check the pheasant is correctly cooked, you can use a meat thermometer – the breast temperature for a cock pheasant should reach 63C/145F and for a hen 60C/140F. (The leg temperature should reach 80-82C/175-180F.) When cooked, set the pheasant aside in a warm place, covered, to rest.

  4. Spoon out the fat from the pan and add the wine, port, juniper and thyme into the roasting pan. On a high heat quickly cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by one third. Scrape the caramelised juices off the bottom of the pan to make the jus. Taste and season if necessary. Strain and reserve in a warmed jug.

  5. For the bread sauce, in a small saucepan on a low heat gently heat the butter and fry the onion with the herbs, crushed cloves and salt for two minutes, or until soft. Add the bacon lardons and continue to cook uncovered for one minute. Add the milk, bring to a simmer and stir in the pieces of bread until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  6. To serve, carve the pheasant and serve it over a mound of bread sauce with the jus poured over.


For the roasted pheasant

  • 2 pheasants (800-900g/1lb 12oz-2lb each), oven-ready, preferably hen pheasants
  • 50ml/2fl oz rapeseed oil (or other non-scented oil)
  • 20g/¾oz unsalted butter (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pheasant jus

  • 100ml/3½fl oz red wine
  • 50ml/1¾fl oz ruby port
  • 2 crushed juniper berries
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

For the bread sauce

  • 10g/¼oz unsalted butter
  • 50g/1¾oz white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves, crushed
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 10g/¼oz small bacon lardons
  • 150ml/5fl oz full-fat milk
  • 1 slice white bread, broken into pieces

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