Pheasant with Bread Sauce & Gravy

With game being a popular dish at Christmas in the UK, Maryanne shares her family recipe from her childhood back in Scotland
Pheasant with bread sauce and gravy by Maryanne Haggas
ITP Images
Pheasant with bread sauce and gravy by Maryanne Haggas
December 18, 2018
Level Intermediate
Preparation Time 1-1.5 hours
Cooking Time 1-2 hours plus resting time
Serves 4

Maryanne's eyes lit up when we asked her to prepare something traditional for us. She has fond memories of standing in the kitchen helping her father make pheasant with bread sauce and gravy for family dinners in Scotland during her childhood. She is certain this easy-to-throw together dish will be a hit at your lunches or dinners during the festive season. 

Was your father in-charge of all the cooking at home?
Yes, he cooked all the birds and meat. And he’s very territorial about gravy, no one else was allowed to make it because no one else’s was as good as his (so he believes!).

What do you miss about Scotland?
I miss the festivities during Christmas, but not the cold. I much prefer hot weather, which is why I’ve been living in Dubai for the past five years.

Tell us about your bread sauce.
Oh, it’s heaven! It goes so well with game and is very British. I usually make a big batch of this and freeze it so I can use it over the course of a few weeks. Basically, it’s milk infused with onion, cloves and bay leaves, mixed with bread crumbs and butter.

PHOTO BY Rajesh Raghav
RECIPE BY Maryanne Haggas


For the gravy

1 chicken stock cube
750ml water
Chicken bistro gravy granules
4 carrots
6 6 spinneysFOOD White Mushrooms
1 onion
Sprig of thyme
spinneysFOOD Salt and Pepper, to tast

For the bread sauce

750ml full fat milk
½ loaf of white bread
1 onion
12-15 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp nutmeg powder
Salted butter

For the pheasant

1 whole pheasant, defrosted and cleaned
2 baby rashes of turkey or beef bacon
1-2 slices of white bread
spinneysFOOD Salt and Pepper


  • 1

    To make the gravy, place the chicken stock cube and 2 to 3 heaped tablespoons of bistro gravy granules into 750ml of water. Add the carrots, mushrooms, onion and thyme to the mixture, stir then simmer for an hour. Remove the vegetables and blitz in a blender. Add to gravy mix and reduce until thick. Add salt and pepper

  • 2

    To make the bread sauce, pour 750ml of milk into a saucepan. Stick the cloves into the onion and place in the milk along with the bay leaves and nutmeg powder. Heat until the milk comes to a boil then remove from the stove and set aside. Cover it with foil for 2 hours. In the meantime, blitz 1/2 loaf of bread until finely crumbed. After the milk mix has rested, remove the bay leaves and cloves from the onion. Blitz the onion. Add the bread crumbs (until the sauce becomes thick) and onion to the milk, stir then leave to absorb. Place a knob of butter on the top and cover – leave for an hour to absorb. Heat and serve

  • 3

    To prepare the pheasant, preheat the oven to 210°C, gas mark 6. Place the bird on two slices of bread. Cover the top of the bird with generous smother of butter, salt and pepper. Place two pieces of bacon on top of the bird. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes then remove the bacon. Cook for another 10 minutes, then allow it to rest for 20 minutes, covered in foil, before serving



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