Madeira roast pheasant







Cook Time

100-105 Min


  • 200g/7oz butter
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
  • 3 pheasants
  • 4 chicken wings
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 50ml/2fl oz Madeira
  • 600ml/1pt chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/.Gas mark 8.
  • Melt 25g/1oz of the butter in a large roasting tin. Stir in the onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves and half of the mixed herbs. Top with the pheasant giblets and necks, and the chicken wings and breasts. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until well browned, turning frequently.
  • Meanwhile, make the herb butter by mixing half of the remaining butter with the remaining mixed herbs.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
  • Pat the pheasant dry inside and out. Loosen the breast skin on each by gently sliding your fingers under the neck flap and down between the breast meat and skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Spread the herb butter evenly over the breast. Sprinkle each cavity with salt and pepper. Put 2 tablespoons herb butter into each cavity. Truss the pheasants to hold their shape. Arrange on their sides on top of the vegetable mixture.
  • Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, basting frequently with the pan juices. Turn over and roast for a further 15 minutes, basting frequently.
  • Turn the pheasants breast side up. Add the Madeira to the tin, and roast for about 15 minutes until the juices run pale pink when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced, basting frequently. Transfer the pheasants to a platter and discard the string. Tent with foil.
  • Add the stock to the roasting tin. Boil for about 6 minutes until reduced to 600ml/1pt liquid, scraping up any browned bits. Melt the remaining butter in a small heavy pan over a low heat. Add the flour and stir for 3 minutes. Whisk in the sauce in a thin stream. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Garnish the pheasant with parsley, and serve with the sauce.
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