Braised pheasant with cinnamon and star anise

Braised pheasant with cinnamon and star anise

Tara Fisher

Pheasants usually come in braces (pairs), and the cock pheasant is larger than the hen once all the feathers have been removed, but when pot-roasting them like this the size doesn’t really matter. Game birds are usually either roasted quickly or cooked long and slow. The advantage of the long, slow method is that you can eat the lot – quick cooking often means you have to throw away the carcass and legs, and just use the breast meat.


Quantity Ingredient
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 carrots
1 onion
1 celery stick
2 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 pheasants, cleaned and giblets removed
400ml riesling wine
550ml chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a frying pan until hot, add the cloves, cinnamon, star anise and mixed spice, and toast them lightly. Tip into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and process to a fine powder.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roughly chop the carrots, onion and celery and crush the garlic. Heat a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat, ensuring it is large enough to hold the 2 pheasants with a lid. Drizzle in a little of the oil and fry the pheasants one at a time, turning them, until evenly golden brown all over. Remove and set aside.
  3. Return the casserole to the heat, add a little more oil, add the vegetables and garlic and cook for 3–4 minutes. Return the pheasants to the casserole and add the white wine. Bring to a simmer, then cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, return to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and sprinkle the pheasant with the spice powder and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the lid and return to the oven for 15 minutes, to allow the skin to crisp up. Remove from the oven and serve with buttery mashed potatoes.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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