You have four months out of twelve to make the most out of cooking with this tasty game bird. The pheasant shooting season starts here in East Sussex on the 1st of October and carries on until the 1st of February. Pheasants are inexpensive, very tasty and can be cooked in various ways. They are commonly used for roasting and casseroling, but they can also be used to make delicious soups, curries, stir fry’s, game pies and used for making succulent scrumptious burgers!
You need the breast fillets for this recipe, so if you don’t want to cut the breasts away from the birds yourself just ask your butcher to prepare this for you. But make sure you keep the carcasses and legs as they make the most delicious stock.
To make a great pheasant stock put the carcasses into a large pan with a large onion unpeeled, cut into quarters along with one stick of celery, one carrot, one bay leaf, a good pinch of flaky salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer over a low heat with the lid on the pan for several hours, checking and topping up with water. Its done when all the bones have fallen apart, strain into a large bowl, allow to cool, then keep in the fridge for a few days until needed ( its a brilliant stock for soups or casseroles ). Or freeze it and use later as a super tasty stock for adding to your Christmas turkey or goose gravy.
Peppery salad leaves are a great addition to the flavour of these burgers, so get yourself some fresh bunches of rocket and watercress. I’ve still got a spicy salad mix growing in the green house right now, so popped in some Greek cress, Mizuna, Mustard Green Frills, Mustard Red Frills and Salad Rocket. So fresh and delicious.
- For the burgers
- 4 pheasant breasts, skinned about (about 400g)
- 250g pork mince
- 1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped (about 60g)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 level tbsp fresh thyme leaves or fresh lemon thyme leaves (optional )
- good pinch of flaky salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- a little olive oil for frying
- 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
- 6 burger buns
- For the relish
- 2 red onions, peeled, finely sliced ( a mandolin is good for this )
- 16 juniper berries, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 heaped tsp dark brown sugar
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ / gas mark 4
- Start by making the relish. Put all of the ingredients into a bowl. Stir well to combine and spoon onto a small baking tray. Put onto the middle shelf in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
- If using whole pheasants, pull away the skin from both birds. Using a sharp small knife cut away the breast fillets from the breast bone.
- Finely chop up the breast meat or pulse briefly in a food processor and put it into a mixing bowl along with the pork mince, finely chopped shallots, crushed garlic, lemon zest, fresh thyme ( if using) good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using a fork or your fingers mix well.
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan, make a marble size ball of the burger mixture and fry until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and taste to make sure the seasoning is to your liking. Add a little more salt if necessary to the burger mixture in the bowl and mix well to combine.
- Lightly flour a work surface and make six even sized burgers.
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.
- Serve in burger buns with the relish and salad leaves.
I love my mandolin slicer, its one of my favourite cooking utensils and is fast and simple to use, making short work of salad and vegetable preparation.
Crushing the juniper berries releases their pungent, slightly sour flavour, which when roasted with the rest of the ingredients sweeten slightly adding a fantastic aromatic flavour to the onions.
This roasted red onion and juniper berry relish is delicious served in the buns accompanying the pheasant burgers with some hot and spicy salad leaves. It is also great served up with some roasted pork or sizzling sausages. Also try it stirred through some roughly chopped cooked winter green or red cabbage.
These pheasant burgers have loads of great flavours going on with every bite from the roasted red onion and juniper berry relish and the peppery salad leaves. But if you want to put push the boat out make some sweet potato chips to go with them.
Just chop up two large sweet potatoes into chunky chip size pieces. Place them in a single layer onto a baking parchment lined baking tray , drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over some cumin seeds. Then roast for 30 minutes or so or until nicely browned on the edges. ( 180℃ / Gas mark 4 ) Season with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
I’m really pleased you have visited my blog today and I hope you give this recipe a go! Please leave your comments in the comment box below it would be lovely to hear from you. Just a hi would be great so I know you have called by. Thank you…. happy cooking and eating!
Oh and please check out the sloe gin recipe in my earlier posts for you to make next year. I have just sampled it and it is sooooo good! hic! x