Pheasant saupiquet and lentils

Valentine Warner cooks a classic Burgundy dish of game with a wine, vinegar and herb sauce
By Valentine Warner
Pheasant saupiquet and lentils
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the pheasant

  • 1 pheasant
  • 1-2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 knob butter

For the sauce

  • 1 small banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch sugar
  • 100 ml white burgundy wine
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, leaves
  • 20 g butter
  • 10 g flour
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 50 ml double cream
  • dash sunflower oil

For the lentils

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g Puy lentils
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • knob butter


1. For the lentils: heat the olive oil in a medium pan and gently fry the shallots and carrots for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the lentils and bay leaf and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then drain the water and cover again with fresh water.

2. Bring the pan to the simmer and cook for 30 minutes, adding more water if the lentils become too dry, until they are al dente. Keep warm.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 5.

4. For the pheasant: joint the pheasant, keeping the bone in the breast. Dust the skin side of each piece in the seasoned flour.

5. Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying pan until foaming and fry the pheasant pieces for 2-3 minutes on all sides, or until golden-brown all over. Transfer the breasts to another frying pan and place the legs in the pan into the oven to roast for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Continue to fry the breasts in the pan for 3-4 minutes on both sides, or until cooked through.

6. For the sauce: place the shallots, garlic, sugar, white wine, vinegar, juniper and thyme into a medium non-reactive pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid reduces in volume to about one tablespoon. Remove from the heat and strain. Pick the juniper berries from the sieve and set aside.

7. Melt the butter in another pan over a medium heat, then scatter in the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for about 30 seconds, then pour in the reduced liquid and the reserved juniper berries.

8. Slowly whisk in the stock until all of it is incorporated into the sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until reduced until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in the cream and bring back to a gentle simmer (do not allow the sauce to boil), then remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

9. Remove the cooked lentils from the heat, drain off any excess water and then mix in the butter until melted.

10. To serve, spoon the lentils onto plates. Thickly slice the pheasant breast and lay on to of the lentils. Place the pheasant leg alongside and spoon over the saupiquet sauce.

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