Pheasant and Leek Pie with Filo Crust

Colin Cross, Goinf Postal
Pheasant DarrelBirkettLicence CC BY 2.0

GP’s 2017 Advent Calendar of Cuisine

If you are lucky enough to have access to pheasants this recipe is well worth a try. Makes a great meal and looks good enough for Boxing Day lunch or when the lesser relatives pop in during the week before New Year (ha ha).


  • A good large heavy bottomed pan
  • Knives
  • A pie dish

For the Filling;

  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon or thick cut pancetta cut into pieces
  • 4 pheasant breasts, cut into chunks or strips (good chicken will do at a push)
  • 1/2 a red onion rough dice
  • 1 stick of celery rough dice
  • 1 carrot rough dice
  • 12 chestnut mushrooms quartered
  • 1 leek sliced down the middle and roughly chopped
  • seasoned plain flour for dredging
  • 1 oz butter
  • rapeseed oil
  • mustard
  • Thyme
  • cornflour or arrowroot paste
  • 1/3 pint dry cider
  • 1/3 pint chicken stock

For the Topping;

  • A packet of filo pastry
  • 1-2 ozs melted butter


If you have to take the breasts off the birds yourself it is quite easy. Split the pheasant skin up the breastbone, peel it back and carefully remove the breasts, wash, checking for shot and pat dry. Don’t worry too much about any blood, that’s just part of country life.

Melt the butter and about 1tbs of oil and gently fry the bacon to release the fat, take out with a slotted spoon and place in the base of the pie dish. Dredge the pheasant pieces in seasoned flour, knocking off any excess and seal the pieces in the oil in the pan. Remove with the spoon and place on top of the bacon pieces. Soften the vegetables in the pan until the onions are translucent, add the leeks and cook through, gently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. De-glaze the pan with the cider reducing it down by about 1/3rd then add the stock. Thicken with the cornflour until a nice “gravy” consistency add the thyme, mustard and black pepper to taste. Taste for salt, add a little if you think it is required, return the vegetables to the pan and stir through the sauce. put the quartered mushrooms on top of the pheasant and pour the vegetables with the sauce over. Stir gently to mix.

Handle the filo with care, there should be 12 sheets or so in the pack. Put 2 sheets on a tea towel and paint with melted butter on one side, scrunch up and put them onto the pie, repeat until you have no pastry left, the pheasant should be totally covered in pastry, you can tuck the edges down a bit to stop leaking. If there is butter left drizzle it over the pastry.

Bake in a medium oven 180 deg or so for about 40 minutes. Great with mash or roasties and a green vegetable of your choice.

I prefer a red wine with this dish but it is personal choice.


PS: I forgot to take a picture when it came out of the oven!

© Coloniescross 2017