Pot Roast Pheasant with Beetroot and Figs

By Xanthe Clay - The Telegraph website

This is a good method for guinea fowl too.

Serves 4


6 slices of streaky bacon
7oz/200g cooked beetroot (not with vinegar)
Sprig of thyme
5oz/150g dried baby figs
¼ pint/150ml white wine
2 pheasants
2 fresh figs, cut into eight to finish


  • Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.
  • Chop three of the streaky bacon slices into matchsticks and cut the beetroot into chunks.
  • Put the chopped bacon, beetroot, thyme and dried figs in the bottom of a lidded casserole (one of which can go on the hob as well as the oven). Pour over the wine and add a cupful of water.
  • Season the pheasants with salt and pepper and put them on top, breast side down.
  • Cover the casserole with foil and put the lid on top to make a tight seal. Bake for 90-120 minutes, until the birds are tender.
  • Turn the oven up to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
  • Remove the lid and foil and turn the birds breast up.
  • Cut the last three slices of bacon in half and lay over the breast of the pheasants. Return them to the oven uncovered and roast for 10-15 minutes until browned.
  • Remove the pheasants to a serving dish and keep warm. Put the casserole on the hob and boil to reduce the juices if necessary, to make a sauce consistency.
  • If it needs a lot of thickening (it depends if the figs have burst or stayed whole), then scoop out a few of the figs and some of the juice and purée with a hand blender before returning to the pot.
  • Stir in the fresh figs and warm through. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.

To Serve

Serve with mashed potato (or game chips – deep-fried, thinly sliced potatoes – for traditionalists) and fresh watercress.