Roast Pheasant Breast with Cabbage, Bacon and Chestnuts, and Cranberry Compote

For a stylish meal, try Michel Lemoine's flavourful recipe for roast pheasant served with braised cabbage and cranberry compote
By Michel Lemoine
Roast Pheasant Breast with Cabbage, Bacon and Chestnuts, and Cranberry Compote
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 2-3 days maturing (optional)
  • Effort: medium



  • black pepper
  • 1 medium Savoy cabbage, outer green leaves discarded, halved, cored and sliced into 5mm thick slices
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp juniper berries, chopped
  • 200 g smoked bacon, cut into strips
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 250 ml fresh game or chicken stock
  • 12 chestnuts, cooked, peeled
  • 4 pheasant breasts, skin on

For the cranberry compote:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 and a half tbsp sugar
  • 250 g fresh cranberries
  • 01 oranges, finely grated zest onlyblanched
  • juice of two oranges
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary


1. First, make the compote. Melt the butter with the sugar in a saucepan. Add the cranberries, orange zest and orange juice and the rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Do not over season as the dish will reduce down and can become over salty.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the liquid has reduced and the compote takes on a jam-like texture.

3. Cool the compote, cover and chill until serving. Ideally make the compote 2-3 days ahead to allow the flavours to mature.

4. To cook the pheasant preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the sliced cabbage and blanch for 2 minutes, drain, then refresh with cold water. Set aside to drain.

6. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and juniper berries and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, without letting the butter burn.

7. Add the bacon and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the white wine and cook briskly until reduced by half. Add the stock and cook until reduced and thickened.

8. Add the Savoy cabbage and the chestnuts. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, pour the vegetable oil into a roasting tray. On a hob, heat the oil in the tray until hot.

10. Season the pheasant breasts with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the breasts to the hot tray, skin side-down, and sear.

11. Once the skin has turned golden, turn the breasts over and cook until the flesh is slightly coloured.

12. Turn the breasts back over and roast in the oven for 4 minutes, taking care not to overcook the pheasant. Test that the meat is cooked by pressing the breasts. The flesh should feel firm when pressed between two fingers, not bouncy or hard. Remove the cooked pheasant breasts and rest, keeping warm.

13. To serve, place a portion of the cabbage mixture on 4 serving plates. Slice each pheasant breast into five slices and place on top of the cabbage portions. Pour the cabbage gravy over the pheasant portions and place a tablespoon of the cranberry compote on each plate. Serve.

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