Monday, 12 December 2011

Bacon and Sage Wrapped Pheasant with Delicious Roast Veg

A Student's Christmas Dinner

This is a properly student friendly Christmas dinner. That is to say, it's not a traditional Christmas dinner; not the whole nine yards. No, your mum will be cooking that for you on the 25th. But why not have a simple alternative with your flat mates to celebrate the end of the deadline rush and the close of yet another (or maybe your first) splendid term at university?

I've swapped Turkey for a smaller, but equally – if not more – delicious bird here: Pheasant. Pheasants are in abundance at this time of year; it'sthe height of the game season, so you shouldn't have to pay more than a fiver for the whole thing. The roast vegetables recipe is pretty much fool proof and is one that I've used again and again since I first learnt it. Gently roast, crispy skinned, melt-in-the-mouth in the middle, and beautifully aromatic from the rosemary, these veggies are almost as indulgent as chocolate. Almost.

Finally, all of this happens in one dish, and once in the oven you simply have to wait for it to roast, so it really is quite stress free.

Time: 1hr 15min (includes 45min roasting)
Serves: 2-3


For the Pheasant:

1 Pheasant
1 packet smoked streaky bacon
A few sage leaves

For the vegetables:

2 large carrots
2 large parsnips
2 large potatoes
Dried or fresh rosemary
Salt, pepper and olive oil


  1. Get a decent sized saucepan of salted water on the boil and preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Peel your potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Chop the carrots and parsnips into batons and quarter the potatoes.
  3. Once the water is boiling add the carrots and potatoes. After 6 minutes, add the parsnips and boil the lot for a further 4 minutes (if you add the parsnips at the beginning they will turn to mush).
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the pheasant. To do this, simply place a few sage leaves on the main body and legs. Next, wrap the pheasant in bacon making sure it is all covered nice and snugly.
  5. Once the vegetables are nice and soft (but not mushy!), drain and allow to steam-dry for a couple of minutes. Tip the carrots and parsnips into a large roasting tray.
  6. Put the lid back on the empty sauce pan with the potatoes and shake around, keeping your hand firmly on the lid, so that the potatoes get a good bashing (but shouldn't fall apart). This will enhance that lovely crispy skin once roasted.
  7. Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and plenty of rosemary. Don't be shy with the oil and seasoning. Shake the tray around a bit. Place the pheasant into the centre of the tray, so it is surrounded by the veg. Try to make sure that the vegetables aren't stacked on top of one another much, or preferably at all.
  8. Now place the tray in the preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until everything looks crispy and delicious. The juices in the pheasant should run clear when poked with a skewer. Serve with your choice of cranberry sauce, gravy or bread sauce. Bon appétit and Merry Christmas!     


  1. I must understand the student dinner :) After living recently in Florence and became a student again :) Merry Chrissy Jason!

  2. That must have been great! Merry Christmas to you too!