The countdown to Christmas is on

Seasonal Greetings Wild Cooks!

Now, although Turkey is our best festive menu seller at Clocktower, not everyone is serving it over the festive period. So today I thought I would give you a few ideas for an alternative Christmas dinner that takes a walk on the wild side!

This year for me, it’s all about pheasant. I’m not a pheasant plucker but this beautiful game bird is a tasty, cheaper alternative to turkey and it’s the best time to get stuck into this game bird. What’s more, the legs of the pheasant can be made into a pheasant confit or used in a coq au vin style dish, breaking down those tougher parts to the leg meat.

Below is a quick, easy recipe idea perfect for providing a wild flavoured Christmas dish…

Pheasant Breast stuffed with Cranberry and Thyme, wrapped in Parma Ham, served with Blumein White Potatoes, Winter Greens and Roast Fleurie Gravy

Pheasant Breast stuffed with Cranberry and Thyme, wrapped in Parma Ham

4 large pheasant  breasts

1 tablespoon of vacuum packed dried cranberry’s (sweetened)

1 small sprig of thyme (leaves removed and chopped)

4 sheets of parma ham



Mix the above ingredients together and allow to marinade in the fridge overnight. Using a sharp knife cut into the breast meat adding the dried vacuum packed cranberries for a lovely sweet sharp centre and wrap this in a slice of parma ham. Pan fry in hot oil and bake in the oven at 180°c for 15- 20 minutes, until the pheasant breast is cooked.

Bluemin White Potatoes

450ml double cream

6 cloves of crushed puréed garlic

2 bay leaves

150g Mrs Bell’s bluemin white cheese from shepherds purse

4 sprigs of thyme leaves

4 red waxy potatoes peeled and any eyes removed


Bring the cream, crushed garlic and bay leaves to the boil. Allow to simmer gently for a minute for the cream mixture to infuse. Take the cream mixture off the heat and peel the potatoes, then thinly slice the potatoes on a mandolin slicer. Place the first layer of the potatoes into a greased bread tin. Now layer up the remainder of the peeled potatoes – in between each layer sprinkle some of the bluemin white cheese and thyme leaves and add a light seasoning of salt and pepper. Reserve one potato for the top of the gratin thinly slice this and stamp it out with a cutter circle shape to form many little circles of potato and position them around the top of the tin. Finish the dish with a little cream poured on top and bake at 180⁰c for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

1 peeled and diced carrot

1 peeled and diced parsnip

½ celeriac peeled and diced

½ peeled and diced small swede

¼ packet of butter cut into cubes

1 tablespoon of Yorkshire rapeseed


Rub the oil and butter into the vegetables well and season with sea salt if required. Place on a roasting tray and bake in the oven until softened and golden and serve well drained.

Winter Greens

Baby leeks

Chantenay carrots


Simply cut the punnet of baby leeks into tube shapes about 3 inches long.  Heat the char grill and gently cook the leeks on all sides. Place them in a tray with a knob of butter (approximately 35g) and lightly season with salt. Cover with cling film. Let them steam in their own vapour for 5 minutes and then serve for a “squeaky leek” crunch factor. Next peel and top the medium size bunch of  Chantenay carrots, blanch in boiling salted water. Drain and serve.

Roast Fleurie Gravy

2 pints of good quality game or chicken stock

½ onion peeled and  chopped

½  carrots peeled and chopped

½  leek split and washed and chopped 1 bay leaves

1 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic peeled and the garlic roughly chopped and added to the stock.

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 glass of red Fleurie wine


Pan fry the vegetables and herbs until golden and add the tomato puree. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Put everything into a large pot and cover with the chicken stock. Bring this to the boil, repeatedly skim off any of the cappuccino style froth that rises to the top (this will help to keep your stock clear and free from impurities). Simmer the stock for approximately one hour. Sieve the stock and thicken with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cornflour and 3 tablespoons cold water mixed well together. Pour the cornflour mixture into the pan and whisk to avoid lumps, stir until thickened. Season the gravy before serving in a gravy boat.

To bring the dish together:

Remove the pheasant from the heat and allow to rest for 8 minutes before carving. Carve on an angle allowing the bright red cranberry stuffing and parma ham to be on show. Add a spoon of bluemin white potatoes and winter greens, then spoon around the Fleurie gravy – serve piping hot!

Wishing you a festive fun Christmas and don’t forget to leave Santa a mince pie and a glass of milk (or something stronger) and a few carrots for Rudolf and the gang…

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Steph x