Roast Pheasant Hens with Puy Lentils & Salsify

by Martin Wishart

Main Medium ​​​​​​​ 6 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes


3 900g pheasant hens, plucked

6 slices of streaky bacon, unsmoked

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled

6 juniper berries, crushed

350ml of chicken stock

50g of butter

4 tbsp of vegetable oil



120g of puy lentils

4 batons of salsify, peeled

50g of unsmoked bacon, on the bone

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 small onion, halved

600ml of chicken stock

30 bacon lardons

olive oil




1. Soak the lentils in cold water for 1 hour. Wash the sticks of salsify and cut into 3cm batons

2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark 6

3. Cover each of the pheasants with 2 slices of the bacon and truss with string. Season the cavity of the birds with a pinch of salt and pepper

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large roasting pan and brown the pheasant hens on all sides

5. Arrange the carrot, onion, celery, garlic and crushed juniper berries around the birds and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, basting frequently

6. Meanwhile, place the presoaked lentils in a large pot with the whole bacon, thyme, peeled garlic and halved onion, then pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes

7. Remove the pheasants from the oven and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the salsify batons in boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes

8. Fry the bacon lardons in olive oil until golden

9. Drain the salsify and sauté until golden brown in a little oil along with the lardons, then drain on some paper towels and stir into the cooked lentils and seasoning

10. Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tray, add the chicken stock to the vegetables and boil until reduced by half, skimming frequently

11. Strain the sauce into a small pan, discarding the vegetables, and whisk in the butter

12. Spoon some of the lentils and salsify onto each plate and place a portion of leg and breast on top. Pour over a little of the sauce and serve with seasonal vegetables of your choice