Poacher’s Broth

This is a great time of year for game. It’s healthy, lean meat and, if you are lucky, might arrive on your doorstep for free if you have a friendly farmer or shooter who might drop off a brace of pheasants or a couple of rabbits. This dish is warming and hearty and utterly delicious. You can use pheasant, or pretty much any game, although rabbit is especially good, so give it a go.

You will need:

8 pheasant legs
25g salted butter
2 large onions finely diced
3 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs fresh marjoram
2 sprigs thyme
50g button mushrooms
150g smoked bacon
250ml good quality chicken stock
175ml double cream
175ml white wine
2 tablespoons English mustard
Plain flour for dusting


  1. Dust the pheasant legs with flour, shaking off any excess. Get a saucepan good and hot, add the butter and brown off the legs and, when golden brown, remove from the pan.
  2. Add in the onions, bacon, mushrooms, garlic and herbs and sweat these off.
  3. Add the pheasant legs back to the pan and add the chicken stock. There should be enough to cover all the meat and vegetables.
  4. Cook on a low heat, or in the oven at around 160ºc for about 50 minutes to an hour. The meat should be nice and tender.
  5. Pour the contents of the pan into a colander over a bowl. Put the drained liquid from the bowl back into the saucepan, add the wine and turn up the heat, reducing the stock by half.
  6. While the stock is reducing, pick away the meat from the bone – taking care to remove the tiny bones and cartilage in the thigh of the pheasant, set aside with the bacon and vegetables.
  7. Now add the double cream to the stock and whisk in the mustard, then add in the meat and vegetables too. Adjust the seasoning, simmer for five minutes, and serve.
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