Tag: allspice

Roast Pheasant with Coppa di Parma, Juniper Berries, Sage and Cabbage

Baked Pheasant + Cabbage

I really enjoy oven dishes that combine meat and vegetables, be it roast, stewed or grilled. It’s very convenient, you pack everything in a baking dish, add your spices, herbs and flavours of choice, set the right time and then relax or watch your dinner getting done. I do that sometimes, I sit in front of my oven watching the meat and vegetables bubbling and turning golden brown, it’s better than television! In the meantime you could also cook some potatoes, polenta or spaetzle to soak the juices of your roast meat but sometimes a loaf of white bread cut into thick slices is just as good.

For this roast, my bird of choice is pheasant, strong in taste but difficult to cook evenly as the legs need longer than the breast. So, to avoid the meat becoming too dry, you can either carve it into pieces before you put it into the oven or you can cover (and protect) the breast with a layer of Coppa di Parma, which is how I did it here. This allows you to put a paste of spices and herbs under the prosciutto to infuse the meat. I went for sage leaves and a mixture of juniper berries, allspice, cloves and garlic. The pheasant roasted on a thick layer of chopped cabbage cooking in some white wine and the juices of the meat. It soaked the flavours and tasted wonderful, great together with the strong meat.

Baked Pheasant + Cabbage

Roast Pheasant with Coppa di Parma, Juniper Berries, Sage and Cabbage

For 3-4 people you need

1 pheasant of 1.3kg/ 3 pounds
Coppa di Parma 4 slices
sage 4 big leaves
juniper berries, ground in a mortar, 2 plus 4 whole berries for the cabbage
allspice, ground in a mortar, 1
clove, ground in a mortar, 1 plus 4 whole cloves for the cabbage
garlic, crushed, 3 cloves
cabbage, cut into thin strips, 400g / 14 ounces
onion, chopped, 1
white wine 150ml plus more for the roast
salt and pepper
olive oil

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F.

For the spice paste, mix the juniper berries, allspice, clove and garlic.

Fry the the onion in some oil until golden and soft, mix it with the cabbage, the 4 juniper berries and the 4 cloves and put in a large roasting tin (big enough for the pheasant). Add the wine and put the bird on top, glazed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Spread the spice mixture on the breast, lay the sage leaves over it and cover with the Coppa di Parma.

Roast the pheasant for 1 hour, pouring some wine on top once in a while and turning the cabbage. When it’s done, check with a skewer to see that only clear juices come out. I kept it simple and had some slices of white bread on the side.

Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta

Honey Glazed Duck

Sometimes I don’t have the time or patience to slow cook a whole duck for hours like I do with my Christmas Duck. Although this really makes for the most tender and juicy meat, I need a quicker alternative. Here’s what I came up with, honey glazed duck legs, juicy as well, with crisp skin, rubbed with spices and – most importantly – you can enjoy all of this after about an hour. If I find the time I marinade the meat in the morning so that the flavours can spread and soak into the skin during the day but it’s great either way.

I prefer the darker, deeper meat of wildfowl like duck, goose and pheasant, especially in the cold season. They allow you to rub strong spices and herbs into their skin without loosing their own qualities. For my duck legs, I went for an aromatic mixture of clove, bay leaf, ginger, star-anis, thyme, allspice and a good amount of honey for a crispy caramelized skin. The juices made an amazing sauce, a concentrate of all the spices, I just added some red wine. Perfect to dip the polenta in which I seasoned with thyme and rosemary.

Honey Glazed Duck

 Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta with Thyme and Rosemary

I prepare the polenta around 4o minutes after I put the duck legs into the oven.

For 2 people you need

duck legs 2
red wine 250ml
(or 100ml red wine and 150ml broth)
salt and black pepper
olive oil


For the marinade

strong honey 2 tablespoons
ginger, thumbnail sized, grated
thyme, leaves of 5 sprigs
allspice berries, ground, 3
cloves, ground, 5
bay leaf, ground, 1
star-anis, ground, 1
cinnamon, ground, 1/4 teaspoon

Warm up the honey in a small sauce pan until it becomes liquid, spread on the duck legs together with the spices and rub everything into their skin marinating them for 1 hour (if possible). You can also prepare them in the morning (like I do) and keep them in the fridge all day before you cook them in the evening.


 For the duck legs

Set the oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for poultry.

Put the duck legs into an oiled baking dish, skin side up, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining honey and spices of the marinade over the duck and place the dish in the hot oven. When the skin starts to get brown after a few minutes turn the temperature down to 130°C / 265°F and pour the red wine into the baking dish (a little over the duck as well) and bake for 60 minutes. Check with a skewer, if only clear juices come out the duck is done. Keep the duck legs in a warm place, pour the juices into a sauce pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t even need to cook the sauce down. It was perfect, very intense, it didn’t need anything else. If you like you can add some more honey, Balsamico or a little orange juice.


For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 250ml plus 150ml for cooking
milk 250ml
thyme, leaves of 4 sprigs
rosemary, chopped, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, mix 250ml of water with the milk and salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil, polenta and herbs and mix with a whisk. Turn down the heat to the lowest temperature and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes mixing and adding the rest of the water once in a while.

Honey Glazed Duck