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Food glossary

Pheasant

Pheasant

Although native to the Far East, the pheasant was introduced to the UK many centuries ago, and is now a familiar sight in the British countryside. The flesh is pale, lean and firm, with a subtle gamey flavour. The breast meat is more delicate in flavour and tender than the legs, which tend to be darker in colour and more sinewy. The birds are sourced with full traceability direct from selected shoots on country estates in southern England and the Midlands. A choice of own-label pheasant is sold at Waitrose. Seasonal availability: Pheasant is in season from 1 October to 31 January.

Pheasant breast fillets

Waitrose pheasant breast fillets are available in store. Allow one to two breast fillets per person, depending on fillet size and weight.

Uses: Breast fillets can be pan-fried or stir-fried. Serve breast fillets with celeriac mash, parsnip crisps and a rich gamey gravy made from the cooking juices. Mix stir-fried strips of pheasant with chunks of apple, crunchy slices of celery and fresh watercress and top with a creamy dressing for a delicious warm winter salad this works well with cold leftovers, too.

To store: Keep refrigerated below 4C. Keep covered and store at the bottom of the fridge. Once opened, consume within 2 days. Do not exceed the use-by date. Pheasant can be frozen on the day of purchase in a four star food freezer or three star frozen food compartment at -18C or colder. Use within one month and defrost fully in the fridge before use. Do not refreeze once thawed. Wash all work surfaces, chopping boards, utensils and hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.

To prepare: Remove all packaging. Breast fillets can be marinaded prior to pan-frying, or cut into thin strips across the grain of the meat for stir-frying.

To cook: To pan-fry, heat 15g butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add the fillets and cook over a high heat for 30 seconds on each side, reduce the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. To stir-fry, heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook breast fillet strips for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add any vegetables, flavourings and sauces as desired. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. Do not reheat once cooled. Cool any leftovers to room temperature, refrigerate within 2 hours and consume within 2 days.

Pheasant thigh fillets

Own-label thigh fillets are available from Waitrose.

Uses: Thigh fillets can be stuffed, rolled and roasted and served with traditional accompaniments such as game chips, roast parsnips and redcurrant or crab apple jelly. Pheasant thigh fillets can also be casseroled with vegetables and stock.

To store: Keep refrigerated below 4C. Keep covered and store at the bottom of the fridge. Once opened, consume within 2 days. Do not exceed the use-by date. Pheasant can be frozen on the day of purchase in a four star food freezer or three star frozen food compartment at -18C or colder. Use within one month and defrost fully in the fridge before use. Do not refreeze once thawed. Wash all work surfaces, chopping boards, utensils and hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.

To prepare: Remove all packaging. To roast, brush the fillets with oil, flatten and fill with a stuffing of your choice. Roll and secure.

To cook: To roast, preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7. Place the stuffed fillets in a roasting tin and cook for 20 minutes, brushing with oil occasionally during cooking. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. To casserole, preheat the oven to 170C, gas mark 3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, add the meat and brown on all sides. Transfer to a casserole dish, add vegetables and stock of your choice, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes in the centre of the oven. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. Do not reheat once cooled. Cool any leftovers to room temperature, refrigerate within 2 hours and consume within 2 days.

Whole pheasant

Waitrose sell own-label easy to carve whole pheasant (deboned with leg bones remaining). Our easy to carve pheasant weighs between 500-550g, so allow one bird to serve two.

Uses: Serve roasted whole pheasant with the traditional accompaniments of game chips (thinly sliced deep fried potatoes), roast parsnips and Cumberland sauce or redcurrant jelly.

To store: Keep refrigerated below 4C. Keep covered and store at the bottom of the fridge. Once opened, consume within 2 days. Do not exceed the use-by date. Pheasant can be frozen on the day of purchase in a four star food freezer or three star frozen food compartment at -18„aC or colder. Use within one month and defrost fully in the fridge before use. Do not refreeze once thawed. Wash all work surfaces, chopping boards, utensils and hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.

To prepare: Remove all packaging. Pheasant is quite a lean meat and should be brushed regularly with olive oil and basted when roasting to prevent it from drying out. Alternatively, cover the bird with thin rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon or pancetta before roasting.

To cook: Preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7. Place the pheasant in a roasting tin and cook in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes. Baste frequently during cooking. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork and there is no pink meat. Do not reheat once cooled. Cool any leftovers to room temperature, refrigerate within 2 hours and consume within 2 days.

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