How to make Pheasant Pastillas

How to make Sarah Monier-Williams' Pheasant Pastillas

Here is Sarah’s guide to making these extremely tasty pheasant canapés which are a perfect gamey alternative to serve this festive season.

Ingredients

2 large pheasant breasts, diced into 1cm cubes

270g ready-made filo pastry

150g melted butter

80g pine nuts

50g sultanas

6 medium mushrooms, very finely diced

1 medium onion, very finely diced

2 tbsp mixed spice

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

A slug of sweet soy sauce

Runny honey

Salt and pepper

I first tasted pastilla as a young teenager in Morocco on a rooftop looking up at the stars. This meal, to be shared with exotic strangers, was supposed to be the perfect end to an adventurous day exploring the Berber heartland of Tafraout with my parents. By nightfall my stomach was rather unsettled, especially considering how my father had been offered 100 camels earlier in the day in exchange for his eldest offspring. This, combined with having had to spend most of the trip in the back of a lurching Defender jammed together with my younger sister and our distinctly whiffy translator. But one bite of pastilla and I was smitten. Our host’s teenage son had lashes longer than a Kardashian and the smoothest skin I’d ever seen. I was sorely tempted to ask Father to reopen negotiations. However, I was half way through coming up with a cunning plan to highlight the benefits of introducing 100 camels to South Dorset when the Tafraout version of rose-scented Turkish delight arrived and I wisely found myself lost in a different nirvana.

The North African pastilla I tasted used pigeon (which works just as well in the dish below) and was a layered, circular dish to be cut into slices. Here, I’m dicing up pheasant instead and mixing with Moroccan spices for you and your guests to achieve your own bite-sized Xanadu.

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