Pheasant pasties

Pheasant is cheaper than you might think, so stock up during the season and try Matthew Forts bacon, vegetable and pheasant pasties
By Matthew Fort
Pheasant pasties
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pheasant, cut into 4 pieces
  • 50 g dry-cured streaky bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 ml madeira
  • 100 ml brandy
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • ½ swede, finely chopped
  • 500 g pack puff pastry, (use an all-butter puff for a better flavour)
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • plain flour, to dust
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, to glaze


1. Heat the oil in a casserole or large pot with a lid, and brown the pheasant.

2. Remove the pheasant from the pan and set aside. Fry the bacon briefly in the same pot until coloured. Add the onion and fry until caramelised slightly.

3. Add the garlic, bay leaf, salt, Madeira, brandy and stock and return the pheasant to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 1 hour over a medium heat. The bird is done when a leg can be tugged away from the breast with ease.

4. Leave the pheasant to rest in the juices for at least 10 minutes, remove the pheasant from the pot and simmer the liquid until thickened.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Divide the pastry into 4 equal-sized pieces. Roll out the pastry until about ½cm thick. Place a 15-20cm dish on top of each piece of pastry and cut around the dish with a sharp knife to make a pastry disc.

6. Cover each pastry disc with a layer of carrot and swede, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Top with some of the pheasant meat and a teaspoon of the juice.

7. Add a couple of small cubes of butter to each pasty, and sprinkle the top of the meat with a pinch of flour. Brush the edges with a little water and fold the pastry over the meat, making sure the top edge meets up with the bottom half. Press tightly together.

8. Starting at one end of the edge, crimp each pasty by pushing the dough together with your thumb and forefinger, Using the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, do the same right next to it. Try and fold the two over each other (you will only get part way). Repeat this crimp all the way along the pastry edge of each pasty.

9. Brush the outsides with beaten egg yolk and cut a small hole to let steam out. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown.

10. Serve hot or cold.

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