Recipe: Pan-fried pheasant with pancetta, apricot and thyme

Pan-fried pheasant with pancetta, apricot and thyme

Pan-fried pheasant with pancetta, apricot and thyme - Credit: Archant

With just a few key ingredients, the humble pheasant breast can be transformed into these moreish morsels, so why not try this delicious alternative to the traditional roast?


1. - Credit: Archant

A true taste of autumn, pheasant is excellent for eating and with its delicate but distinctive flavour it can be paired with a variety of ingredients without losing its character.

In this recipe, the sweet-salty pancetta complements the richness of the pheasant, but also helps to stop the meat drying out during cooking. Thyme adds an element of earthiness and the fruit, in this case apricot and redcurrant, add freshness and sweetness, as well as a sharpness that cuts through the full-bodied wine jus.

Serves 2

2 pheasant breast


2. - Credit: Archant

12 slices of smoked pancetta

6 dried apricots

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4 sprigs of fresh thyme

butter or olive oil for frying


3. - Credit: Archant

salt and pepper


small glass of red wine

1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly


4. - Credit: Archant

knob of butter




5. - Credit: Archant

1. Cut each pheasant breast in half lengthways.

2. Cut the apricots in the same way.

3. Lay out three slices of pancetta, slightly overlapping them, and lay a sprig of thyme on top.

4. Place a piece of pheasant on top of the thyme and three pieces of apricot on top of the pheasant.


7. - Credit: Archant

5. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then wrap the bacon tightly around the pheasant to create a parcel.

6. Repeat with the rest of the pheasant until you have four parcels.

7. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and add butter/olive oil. Seal each parcel, then reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

8. Pour in the wine, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the resting juices, redcurrant jelly and butter, and season to taste. Serve the pheasant with the jus and garnish with watercress.

Try it with... we’ve teamed up with Fowles Wines of Australia who make wines specifically designed to be drunk with game. With a dash of Zinfandel, this Pinot Noir from the ‘Are you Game?’ range blushes bright, ruby red. Aromas of cherry and red plum play with earthy characters and notes of oak. The palate is fresh with rich, red fruits. The perfect accompaniment to pheasant. £12.95