Game on the estate

Steven is the Chatsworth Estate Head Gamekeeper. Leading a close knit team of two, he is tasked with ensuring the deer and pheasants on our estate are healthy and well managed, in cooperation with the British Game Alliance. Sustainable wildlife management is an integral part of the team’s day to day activities, ensuring both the habitat and animals are well looked after.

The Chatsworth Game team also adopts practices to promote and preserve wildlife, archaeology and species rich habitats with the Chatsworth Farm team, in line with the Environmental Stewardship Scheme.

When in season, fresh Chatsworth Estate pheasants and venison are sold in the estate farm shop. But, don't worry if you miss them, they can also be found in the frozen meat and poultry section throughout the year.

Did you know?

The Chatsworth Estate has 300 semi-wild fallow deer and 150 semi-wild red deer plus additional wild deer in the park.

Cider braised pheasant

Not only a great way to use the last of the fresh Chatsworth Estate pheasant for the season, but also an excellent way to introduce pheasant to a game novice - who doesn't like a crispy bacon wrapping?!


  • 4 Pheasant breasts
  • 4 Large rashers of smoked back bacon
  • 500ml Dry cider
  • 5 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 100g Unsalted butter, softened for the pheasant
  • 50g Unsalted butter, for the sauce
  • 1tsp Caster sugar
  • 30g Plain flour
  • 100ml Crème fraiche, full fat
  • 1tsp Whole grain mustard
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Spread the 100g of butter over the breasts and wrap in the bacon.
  • Place in an ovenproof dish and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, reduce the oven to 170c and pour 250ml of the cider over the breasts.
  • Cover with foil or a lid and return to the oven for 60 minutes. Check the pheasant during the cooking time to ensure they are not drying out. Add additional cider if necessary.
  • In the meantime, pour the remaining 250ml of cider into a saucepan, bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
  • In a separate saucepan, gently cook the shallots in the remaining 50g of butter until soft. Add the sugar and continue to cook until lightly caramelised.
  • Stir the flour into the shallots and mix together well. Gradually stir in the hot cider followed by the crème fraiche and the mustard. Cook over a low heat until the sauce has thickened.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.
  • When ready to serve, drain any remaining cooking liquor from the breast (keep this as it makes an excellent base for a rich gravy) and transfer the pheasant to a serving dish, either whole or thickly sliced.
  • Pour over the sauce and serve.

This dish works well with any vegetables, but is especially delicious served with in-season apple mashed potatoes and buttered Brussels sprouts.

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