Roast pheasant tacos with spicy pear salsa and naked slaw

one for the pot

one for the pot - Credit: Archant

Easy, delicious pheasant tacos recipe - perfect for friends and family

one for the pot

one for the pot - Credit: Archant

You might read this recipe and think that 24 tacos sounds a little excessive for four people, but they are only small, plus I have written this recipe with four hungry people with big appetites in mind. If you have any left over, you can pop them in the fridge to use up the next day, or you can freeze them – place a sheet of greaseproof paper between each one to stop them sticking and then cover in clingfilm or place in a plastic freezer bag.

If you have friends or family that are reluctant to try game, then this is a great dish to entice them with. In the time it takes you to roast a whole bird, you can have all the accompaniments ready to go. (If you’ve got some leftover pheasant in the fridge, so much the better.) When the birds are cooked, you can either shred the pheasant before taking it to your diners, or indulge everyone’s inner caveman/woman and let them tackle the bird at the table.

Once everything is ready, take it all to the table and let people get stuck in. It might get a bit messy, as there’s no polite way to eat a taco, but sometimes the messy dinners are the best! And don’t feel like you have to stick to this recipe – you can make an array of accompaniments, toppings and sides, depending on what you’ve got in the fridge. Enjoy a taco night with friends or loved ones and say adios, until next season, to our favourite gamebird.

one for the pot

one for the pot - Credit: Archant

Serves 4

Preparation and cooking time: 40 minutes


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? 2 oven-ready pheasants

? oil

? butter

? streaky bacon

? salt and pepper

For the tacos:

? 500g plain flour

? pinch of salt

? 4 tbsp olive oil

? 300ml water

For the salsa:

? 2 pears, ripe but firm (I used Blush pears), peeled and diced

? ½ red onion, peeled and diced

? ½ red chilli, finely chopped

? small bunch of coriander, chopped

? juice of 2 limes

For the SLAW:

? ½ small red cabbage, finely sliced

? 1 large carrot, grated

? natural yoghurt (optional)

? hot sauce (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

2. Heat a splash of oil and a knob of butter in an ovenproof pan until foaming.

3. Cook the pheasants on the leg sides for 3-5 minutes, then the breast sides for 2-3 minutes.

4. Season the pheasants and then lay some rashers of bacon over the breasts. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of the bird), turning halfway.

5. To make the tacos: Put the flour in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the oil and water and mix together, gradually bringing the flour into the middle. When it forms a dough, tip it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide into 24 balls and cover with a clean, damp tea towel.

6. To make the salsa: combine the pears, red onion, chilli, coriander and lime juice. Set aside to allow the flavours to deepen.

7. In a bowl, mix together the cabbage and carrot.

8. Roll one of the dough balls out thinly until you have a perfect circle (or near enough!). It should be roughly 15cm in diameter. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the taco for 1 minute on each side, or until a few bubbles form on the surface and they start to puff up. While that one is cooking, roll the next one out. Once cooked, remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

9. Remove the pheasant from the oven and allow to rest.

10. While the meat is resting, fry any leftover streaky bacon in a little oil until golden and crisp. Drain on some kitchen paper, then snap into shards and place in a bowl.

11. Take the pheasant, salsa, slaw and bacon to the table and let everyone dig in. Serve with natural yoghurt, and some hot sauce for those who like things fiery!