Pot roast pheasant flavoured with orange, served potato

What you need to know:

  • Recipe. The meat simmers in varying amounts of liquid in a closed pot or casserole for relatively long periods, writes A. Kadumukasa Kironde II.

One of the best substitutes for pheasant is grouse, the majestic game bird known for its rich flavour and tender meat. Unfortunately, I highly doubt whether either one of them is available in Uganda.

Chicken is an excellent substitute though undoubtedly it lacks the pheasants delicate flavour. The key differences between the two are appearance, diet, domestication and population. Both belong to the terrestrial phasianidae family viz. a group that includes pheasants, jungle fowl, turkeys and quail. 

As for the chestnuts, which may be hard to find in Kampala, fortunately there are a myriad of substitutes available such as hazelnuts, pistachios, Macadamia nuts as well as products that are not nuts. These can include raw or rolled oats as well as jackfruit seeds which apart from the flesh, are perfectly edible.

If you are having a hard time getting hold of Brussel sprouts, use broccoli, cauliflower or bok choy.

Pot roasting is a cooking method which is especially recommended for less tender cuts of meat such as chuck, shoulder, bottom round and brisket. It involves both dry and moist heat cooking where the meat benefits from first being browned before it is slowly cooked in a liquid that has a few added vegetables. The meat simmers in varying amounts of liquid in a closed pot or casserole for relatively long periods. The ideal type of cooking vessel to use is a heavy pan such as a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. If you have a slow cooker at home, by all means feel free to use it instead of the traditional Dutch oven.


1.For the potato and chestnut puree, cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until tender and then drain. Pass through a potato ricer into a clean pan or mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add the butter and mix in with a wooden spoon before adding the warm milk and chestnuts and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

2.Season the pheasants with Royco, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger and then heat 30g or tablespoons of the butter in a large casserole and brown the pheasants on all sides. Add the orange juice and cover the casserole with the lid and transfer to a preheated oven 180dC/350dF/Gas mark 4 and cook for20 – 25 minutes.

3.In the meantime, cook the Brussel sprouts in lightly salted boiling water for two minutes and then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again a second time and shred the sprouts with a chopping knife. Finish cooking them in a pan along with the grated orange zest, the remaining butter as well as some salt and butter to taste. Set aside and keep warm until ready to use.

4.When the pheasants are done, remove them from the casserole and cover with foil and leave them to rest for about 15 minutes. Strain the cooking juices from the casserole through a fine sieve and adjust the seasoning accordingly, adding more salt and pepper as needed.  Set aside and keep warm.

5.When you are ready to serve, cut off the legs of the bird and then take the breasts off the bone and cut each one into three pieces. Divide the Brussel sprouts between four plates and place the pheasant on top and put the potato puree on the side. Spoon the cooking juices over the pheasant and just before serving, taste and correct seasoning. 


Serves 4

2 plump, oven ready pheasants weighing no more than 750g each

75g (5 tablespoons butter)

Juice of 2 sweet oranges. I would advise you to use the imported type which are guaranteed to be sweet and juicy.

400g Brussels sprouts

Grated zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoon Royco

For the potato and chestnut puree

300g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

45g (3 tablespoons) butter

150m (2/3 cups) warm milk

100g peeled cooked chestnuts, chopped