Pheasant Tagine.

Serves 4 – 6.


  • 2 large-ish pheasants.
  • 3 tablespoon mild olive oil for cooking.
  • 2 onions, diced finely.
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • ½ tsp saffron threads.
  • ½ tsp ground ginger.
  • 2 sticks cinnamon.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 lemon.
  • 1 quince.
  • A small bunch of coriander.
  • A small bunch parsley.


  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/gas 4.
  2. Joint the pheasants and set them aside. You don’t need stock for this recipe but if you like you can use wings, backbones and the very ends of the legs (drumsticks)to make one.
  3. Heat the oil in your designated tagine pot or casserole dish and brown the pheasant pieces all over, fairly briskly then set them aside.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the remaining fat and juices, season with generous quantities of salt, stir a couple of times and lower the heat as much as possible.
  5. Allow the onion mix to sweat like this for 10/15 minutes. Do not let it brown.
  6. Dissolve the saffron threads in about two tablespoons of warm (but not boiling) water.
  7. Add them to the onions and garlic along with the ginger and cinnamon.
  8. Return the pheasant pieces to the pot. Cover them with water and season with a good twist of salt and pepper. Do not stir the pot now.
  9. Peel and core the quince, then diced it roughly.
  10. Arrange the quince over the top of the pheasant and squeeze the lemon juice over everything.
  11. Now cover the pot and put it in the oven.
  12. Bake the covered tagine for 40 minutes before checking the meat and quince for tenderness. If it is done to your liking check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  13. Chop the parsley and coriander and scatter them generously over the tagine just before serving.

You could serve this with couscous but we think the best accompaniment is naan-type flat bread, or even a crusty baguette.

Moroccan tagines are slow-cooked braises; the spicy cousins of European potages and casseroles. A tagine is a clay pot, which allows meat to braise slowly until it can literally be pulled apart and eaten with fingers. You can use any ovenproof pot if you don’t own a tagine, but in our experience cast iron, Le Creuset type dishes and terracotta oven dishes are the best substitutes. You can swap the pheasant in this recipe for guinea fowl, chicken, quails or partridges. Many tagines have an element of fruit in them and quince is ideal for this one, coming into season at round the same time as pheasant. If you can’t get hold of a quince, substitute dried apricot, figs or dates instead.