Gamekeepers' Poached Pheasant with Celery

This is the perfect dish for impressing your friends and family at a dinner party. Poaching the pheasant allows the meat to get nice and tender. Preparing your own stock rather than using pre-bought stock really does add to the flavour of the dish but if you don’t have the time, stock cubes are the ideal quick fix. Can be served with seasonal vegetable and your choice of potatoes.

Ingredients (serves 2 people)

  • 1 pheasant
  • 1 head of celery
  • 10 small shallots, peeled
For the sauce
  • 20g of butter
  • 20g of plain flour
  • 55ml of double cream
  • Salt and pepper to season
For the stock
  • 2 pints of water
  • Pheasant trimmings
  • Celery trimmings
  • 1 large onion halved
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot
  • bay leaf
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Make the stock by adding pheasant wings and the other stock ingredients to 2 pints of water. Simmer for 30 minutes. While the stock is cooking, cut the lower part of the celery vertically (including the base) into quarters and then eighths. Wash thoroughly. When the stock has cooked down for 30 minutes, strain into a large saucepan.
  2. Season the pheasant and add to the stock. Simmer gently with the lid on for 20 minutes. Add the peeled shallots and cook for a further 15 minutes. Then add the chopped celery and cook for another 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pheasant and transfer to a dish, adding the drained vegetables – cover and keep warm. Boil the remaining strained liquid until reduced to about 275ml.
  4. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan add the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the stock gradually, whisking until smooth. Simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Add the cream and more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve half a hen per person with the sauce poured over the top and garnish with celery leaves or parsley.

Whole pheasant can be purchased online now.