You’ve heard me say I love autumn about a gazillion times, haven’t you? Because here’s so much fresh game to be had. And today’s recipe, Roast Pheasant Masala is a great example of how to cook game birds with a different flavour than usual.
The roast pheasants are richly flavoured with the beautiful aroma of Indian spices like cumin, coriander and garam masala.
Roast Pheasant Masala Recipe
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe. All we do is:
- make up the marinade (spices, aromatics, yoghurt and lemon juice)
- marinate the pheasants
- chop up some vegetables
- roast the pheasants
How long does a Pheasant take to Roast?
It rather depends on the size of you pheasant. If you look online, roasting times in various recipes range from 30 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes!
How long you cook your pheasants for, is also determined by how well done you like your meats. When it comes to game birds, I like them rather well done.
Naturally, the smaller the birds, the shorter the cooking time. The pheasants I have here each weigh about 600g (1 1/3 pounds). So we give them an initial high blast to encourage browning, then cook them at a slightly lower temperature until they are done; these took me a total of 60 minutes.
Baste your Pheasants
Pheasants are fairly lean birds, so they have a tendency to dry out. Therefore, I suggest basting them about 3 times during cooking time.
Or, you could just drape some bacon slices over the bird, as is the all too common practice. But I didn’t want to mess with the masala flavour here, so left the bacon out.
How to Serve our Roast Pheasant Masala?
Just because we are cooking it with Indian spices, doesn’t mean it has to be part of an Indian meal. However, if that’s the way your boat rocks, of course, you can serve the roast pheasant masala with rice, curries and Indian vegetables.
Being a part English household, roasts are a very big part of our lives! What I love to do though, is liven up our Sunday roasts with differently flavoured meats. Sometimes, it’s the straight old classics with minimal flavours, sometimes it’s Chinese (above), sometimes it’s Indian, sometimes it’s Italian (Arrosto Misto, Italian Mixed Roast) and sometimes it’s Middle Eastern. For a start.
The Dry Spices for our Roast Pheasant
I’m going to give you 2 choices, whatever you are happier with:
- Toast your whole spices, then grind them
- Or use ground spices
Besides the cumin, cardamom, et al, I also add some garam masala, for a little more added warmth. Again, you can use shop bought, or make your own, with the video recipe below. Sometimes, I replace the garam masala with chaat masala, another Indian spice mix.
Don’t like Pheasant or Can’t get Pheasant?
This same recipe can be used for any form of poultry, be it chicken, duck and most certainly the festive turkey. Double or triple the ingredients for chicken and duck, depending on the size of the birds.
And for turkeys, you probably have to have 5 times as much of the ingredients here. At least.
Let’s get cooking! Any questions, just ask away!
Roast Pheasant Masala Recipe in Pictures
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Roast Pheasant Masala is a delicious alternative roast brimming with the rich aroma of Indian spices, without any heat. Perfect for festive occasions or no occasion at all!
- 2 oven ready pheasants, that means all cleaned (about 600g/1.3 lb)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large onion
- 2 medium tomatoes
Dry Whole Spices
- 6 cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
- 1 tsp coriander (or 3/4 tsp ground coriander)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 3/4 tsp ground cumin)
- 1 small stick cinnamon (or generous pinch ground cinnamon)
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (or 1/4 tsp freshly milled black pepper)
- the whole spices above, ground
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5cm (2″) ginger, medium thickness
- 1 green chilli (or more, for heat)
- 1 small handful fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 100g (3.5oz/1 small pot) thick yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
Prepare the marinade
- Toast the whole spices in a frying pan on a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. You will know when they are done, by the lovely, smoky aroma. Don’t let them burn! Leave them to cool while you get on with the other ingredients.
If using ground spices, just move on to the next step.
- Place the garlic, ginger, green chilli and coriander leaves (cilantro) in a chopper and chop to a fine grind. Or, chop them all finely, by hand if you haven’t got a chopper. Seriously, you don’t?
- Place the yoghurt in a bowl and tip the chopped garlic, ginger, chilli and leaves in.
- Follow this by all the other ingredients.
- When the whole toasted spices have cooled down about 10 minutes, place them in a spice or coffee grinder and blitz to a fine powder and add to the yoghurt.
- Stir the yoghurt mix thoroughly.
Marinate the pheasants
- Rub the yoghurt marinade all over the pheasants, getting under the skin and in the cavity. Cover, and leave to marinate for as long as you can, minimum an hour. Overnight would be great, just remember to keep the birds in the fridge and get them out 30 minutes before cooking to allow them to get to room temperature.
Cook the pheasants
- Turn the oven on to 220˚C (430˚F).
- Slice the carrots, onions and tomatoes in rings and place them in a roasting tin. You can use any vegetables you like here, like leeks and celery.
- Place the pheasants on the vegetables, and roast them, uncovered, at the initial high temperature of 220˚C (430˚F) for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to 180˚ (350˚F) and cook for 45-60 minutes more, until the birds are done, basting at least 3 times during the cooking period. The birds are done when the legs are no longer very pink, and more importantly, the juices run clear when you use a knife to pierce the thigh.
- Take it out of the oven, cover with a foil, then a tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes, before carving and serving as discussed above.
Total time does not take into account the marinating time.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Anglo-Indian