With the New Year upon us and the temperature tumbling each day, there’s no better time to enjoy the bounty of game season. From the autumn months onwards, dishes like pan-fried pheasant begin to appear on menus across the country. Executive Chef Alexandros Diamamtis from Cheneston’s Restaurant at The Milestone Hotel in London has shared his Thetford Forest pheasant recipe with us, and has revealed some insider tips for cooking game. The season ends in late January, so now’s the time to give pan-fried pheasant a try.
Where did your love of cooking game come from?
“From my mother, she’s a wonderful cook back in Greece. I love the richness of the flavour of game and it particularly suits the British climate. This recipe is a traditional English dish with a twist – using shitake pickled mushrooms.”
What do you look for when sourcing game? Why do you use Thetford Forest pheasant?
“The key thing is to have a trusted supplier – it’s quite hard to determine a good bird from a bad but a reputable supplier will know the quality. I recommend visiting your local butcher for advice about where to buy quality game in your area. I also buy the whole bird, as it’s such a great product. I use the Theford Forest pheasant as I love the rich taste of the meat.”
Can you give us some tips on cooking peasant?
“Don’t overcook it as it will be tough – pan-fried is my preferred method, with no spices as the natural flavour is powerful enough. Simply heat butter in the pan and toss onto the bird, 5-7 minutes on medium to high heat and the meat is cooked.”
What was the inspiration behind this dish?
“My mother has always inspired me and used to cook game. This particular dish has some tweaks from myself and is accompanied by mushrooms and fresh green beans – the shitake pickled mushrooms provide great flavour mixed with olive oil and garlic, which compliments the pan-fried pheasant.”
What wines would you recommend serving with this dish?
“A fruity red wine would be ideal, or a burgundy.”
Thetford Forest Pan-Fried Pheasant:
- 1 pheasant breast
- 4 medium shitake mushrooms sliced
- 100ml fine quality olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Sea salt
- 6 fine green beans
- 30g butter
- 1 piece of puff pastry 8x4cm
- 1 egg yolk
- Small bunch of micro cress
- Cobnut oil
For the pear relish
- 2 pears
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 small red onion
- 10g raisins
- Cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- 1 clove
- 1 star anise
- Juice from 1 orange
Method for the pear relish
Peel the pear and dice it into medium size cubes (2x2cm). Peel the red onion and slice it thinly. Put all the ingredients apart from the raisins in a pot and cook on a very low heat for approximately two hours. Add the raisins, cook for another 15 minutes on low heat and remove. You can then either use it as it is or blend it to a smooth puree.
For the pheasant
In a small pot, put the olive oil, thyme, and garlic and bring to the boil. Remove straight away, add the sliced mushrooms and leave on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oil and dry them in absorbent paper.
Brush the puff pastry with the egg yolk and cover its surface with half of the pickled mushrooms. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Season the pheasant with sea salt and pan-fry it on a medium to high heat until you have a nice golden crispy skin. Add the butter, turn the pheasant and cook for another two minutes on a medium heat. Remove from the pan and allow it to rest for a few minutes before you serve it up. Meanwhile, blanch the green beans in boiling water for five minutes.
For the plating
Cut the pheasant into three pieces and mix the micro cress with the cobnut oil. Use the rest of the mushrooms and the green beans as a garnish on the salad.
To try Alex’s delicious pan-fried pheasant dish at Cheneston’s Restaurant, please give us a call on +44 (0)207 917 1000.
Header Image: Thetford Forest Pan-Fried Pheasant at Cheneston’s.