• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250g diced smoked pancetta or smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 litre light chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 pheasant, oven-ready (see notes below)
  • 1 head Hispi or Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter


  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g shredded suet
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ a bunch sage, finely chopped
  • a small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp creamed horseradish


  • STEP 1

    Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry all of the diced vegetables with the bay leaf and pancetta until golden, the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp.

  • STEP 2

    Add the stock, herbs, garlic and tomato purée, and bring back to the boil, stirring well to get all the chewy bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the pheasant into the broth, turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until the meat falls easily from the bones.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, mix together the flour, suet, baking powder, sage, parsley and horseradish in a mixing bowl and season generously. Add 150-175ml of cold water to make a firm but pliable dough.

  • STEP 4

    Gently lift the pheasant from the broth, remove the skin and bones, shred the meat, divide into warm bowls and return the broth to a simmer.

  • STEP 5

    Dampen your hands and roll the dough into golf-ball-sized dumplings, add to the broth and cook for 8-10 minutes with a lid on until they are light and fluffy. Check the seasoning of the broth, adding more if needed.

  • STEP 6

    Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the cabbage until tender, then drain really well and tip into a serving dish with the butter and some seasoning.

  • STEP 7

    To serve, add the dumplings and a generous ladle of the broth to each bowl of pheasant, before adding a big spoonful of the buttered cabbage.

The partridge shooting season runs from 1st September to 1st February, and the pheasant season from 1st October to 1st February. Venison, rabbit and wild boar are available all year round. Game can be pre-ordered from good butchers or available online from ‘Oven ready’ means that the game has been plucked and gutted.

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