Pheasant meatballs with orzo

If you've got leftover pheasant to use, this dish makes the most of a modest amount and is a great weeknight supper

  • Prep:25 mins
    Cook:20 mins
  • Serves 2
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 980
  • fat 68g
  • saturates 27g
  • carbs 57g
  • sugars 7g
  • fibre 8g
  • protein 31g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 150g leftover pheasant meat picked from the carcass (including skin and fat)
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • small grating nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 200g orzo
  • 80g baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 20g finely grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve


  1. To make the meatballs, put the shallot, garlic and pheasant into a blender and process until finely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice, yogurt and egg and blitz once more, until the mixture is clumping together, then tip into a bowl. Add the pistachios and parsley, stir well and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Oil your hands and roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Put in the fridge to chill.

  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a heavy-bottomed, non-stick frying pan or skillet, heat the olive oil and rosemary, and stir to infuse the oil, then add the meatballs and fry for 4-5 mins, turning them carefully to brown all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, retaining the rosemary oil, and transfer the meatballs to a roasting tin. Put them in the oven for 10 mins to heat through while you cook the pasta.

  3. Cook the orzo following pack instructions, and drain when al dente, reserving some of the water. Remove the sprigs of rosemary from the olive oil in the frying pan and tip in the pasta along with the spinach, stirring to coat in the infused oil. Warm gently over a low heat then stir in the crème fraîche and Parmesan, plus a little pasta water (or stock, if you have it). Season and divide between plates, topping with the meatballs. Serve with extra Parmesan, if you like.

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