I’d like to thank Rebecca Woollard for sharing this delicious dish with us, and for allowing us to share the recipe in turn with you here. If you’d like to see more of her beautifully styled food you can find her on Instagram by searching the handle @rebecca_woollard.
Pheasant Curry with Saffron and Coconut
Ready in 1 hour, plus marinating
Serves 2-3 (or 4 with other dishes)
For the pheasant
4 skinless, boneless pheasant breasts (you can also use small chicken breasts – the curry will be less saucy but will feed more people), cut into thirds (or 1/4s for chicken)
200g Greek yogurt (full-fat)
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp fine salt
For the sauce
80g cashew nuts, toasted in the oven until golden then transferred to a bowl, covered with cold water and left to stand for 2-3 hours
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Thumb-sized piece root ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
10 cardamom pods, bashed to split them
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp garam masala
130ml tin coconut cream
250g fresh vine tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
500ml fresh chicken stock
Pinch saffron threads soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
Lime wedges, fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds to serve
- Marinate the pheasant at least 6 hours but up to 24 hours in advance, by mixing all the ingredients together and chilling.
- To make the sauce, heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan/Gas Mark 4) and blitz the cashews and their soaking water in a small food processor until you have a fine paste.
- Heat an ovenproof, large frying or sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Once it’s shimmering, add the onions and fry, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes until they’re very soft and a little caramelised. Turn the heat down slightly, add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes more until fragrant. Add the spices with a large splash of water and fry for 2-3 minutes again, until they smell rounded and have lost their raw tang.
- Add the cashew paste, coconut cream and tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the chicken stock and the saffron with its soaking water. Bring everything to a simmer, then transfer uncovered to the oven and cook for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through. If you’re planning to eat straight after, bring the pheasant out of the fridge to come back to room temperature.
- After 45 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, transfer the sauce carefully to a large measuring jug and blitz until completely smooth using a stick blender. Check the seasoning – at this point you could cool and chill the sauce or freeze it.
- When ready to cook, bring the sauce to a simmer and remove the pheasant from the marinade – you don’t need to wipe it but shake off the excess. Once the sauce is very gently bubbling, drop the pheasant pieces in and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Check the seasoning, then serve, scattered with coriander and pomegranates, with lime wedges on the side. You can serve with rice, but I prefer flatbreads for mopping up the sauce.