Pheasants Stuffed with Cobnuts and Watercress with Piquant Toasts .


  • 4 pheasants cut in half lengthways, then the backbone snipped out to tidy them up.
  • Olive oil for brushing.
  • 24 very thin rashers of smoked, streaky bacon.

For the stuffing:

  • 1tbsp butter.
  • 230g shelled fresh Kentish cobnuts.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • 230g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs.
  •  4tbsp chopped watercress or rocket leaves.

For the pate:

  • 230g salted farmhouse butter, softened.
  • 1 small white or red onion, very finely chopped.
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped.
  •  6 chicken livers.
  • 8 anchovy fillets.
  • 2tbsp capers.
  • 1 small wineglass of red wine or stock.

For the gravy:

  • A nut of butter.
  • 2 glasses of white wine.
  • 300ml stock.
  • 1 ciabatta or similar traditional loaf for serving.


  1. Preheat the oven to 240C/gas mark 9.
  2. Wash the pheasants and dry them on kitchen paper.
  3. Pinch away any remaining feathers.
  4. Mix together the nuts, breadcrumbs, butter and rocket or watercress.
  5. Season.
  6. Slip your finger under the skin of one pheasant half, working from the wing end. Push in one quarter of the stuffing, right towards the top of the leg. Repeat with the remaining pheasant halves and then put them into an oiled roasting tin.
  7. Brush the birds with a little oil.
  8. Twist each piece of bacon as if it were old-fashioned candy, and then lay them across the pheasant, here and there.
  9. Put tin in the oven, and roast for 25 minutes, until the pheasants are golden brown and the skin is crisp.
  10. Remove and leave in a warm place to rest for 20 minutes or more. The pheasants will not spoil and will even improve in flavour, if left.

To make a liver pate:

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until very pale gold.
  3. Add the chicken livers and cook over a medium-high heat for two minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Next, add the anchovies and capers and cook for one minute, then add the wine or stock.
  5. Simmer for one minute, then season.
  6. Turn the whole lot on to a wooden board and chop finely (any liquid should be absorbed as you chop the ingredients).
  7. Transfer to a bowl.

To make the gravy:

  1. Melt the butter in the roasting pan.
  2. Add the white wine and the stock.
  3. Simmer, scraping at the base of the pan with a wooden spatula.
  4. Strain the gravy and keep it warm in a pan until use.
  5. Shortly before you serve, cut thin slices from the loaf of bread, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven for a few minutes until crisp. Keep warm.

To serve – carve slices from the pheasant breasts and joint the legs. Spread a little of the liver pate on to the warm toasts and place one on each plate. Eat with the gravy and steamed curly kale or small roast beetroots.

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph.