A Taste of Ireland: Harissa and pheasant with roast potatoes

A Taste of Ireland: Harissa and pheasant with roast potatoes

Harissa and phesant with roast potatoes

Hi folks well here is a recipe using a really great north african (slightly spicy) paste called harissa, if you want to use chicken instead of pheasant go right ahead. I just wanted to use what was available to me at the time from the English Market in Cork and at the time pheasant was in season .

I cannot think of a better free range piece of poultry than wild pheasant. If you must eat chicken please source free range, there is not enough space on this blog to explain why , so there you have it, if pheasant is available this I suspect would be an impressive dish to serve your guests at any dinner party. Its really tasty and should bring colour to your tastebuds. This is really two recipes in one, the harissa paste can be used with any meats and as a pasta sauce.

Harissa Paste

  • ½ tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or pimento
  • 2 red Jalenpeno chilli peppers
  • 7 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. This recipe couldn`t be easier for an incredibly tasty and versatile sauce that can be added to everything from pasta to poultry and fish.
  2. Roast the peppers in the oven at 200ºC until softened approx. 15-20 minutes you want some blackened bits but not too much, then let this cool
  3. Meanwhile toast all the spices (in the spice mix) over medium heat in a pan until the oils are released (the wonderful smell should give this away) then grind in a coffee grinder or a pestle and mortor.
  4. . In a blender/food processor, combine all the ingredients along with the spices then blend well until you have a bright red paste. Taste and add seasoning if required.

Harrisa Pheasant with roast potatoes.

The ability to make good roast potatoes is a must for any working person. This one skill will allow to salvage any roast you might get wrong. The key to good roast potatoes is in the parboiling stage.

  1. Cut up the potatoes into suitably sized chunks.
  2. Boil them until they begin to soften but are still firm so between 5 to 10 minutes depending on the quantity. Then drain and allow to cool.
  3. Start to heat the oven at 200°C.
  4. Meanwhile clean your pheasant with water.
  5. Stuff one lemon cut into 4 pieces into its cavity.
  6. Then (with clean hands) simply slather the harissa paste all over the bird
  7. Take care to wash your hands after this.
  8. Place your potatoes on a roasting tray and cover in 4 to table spoons of olive oil (I just splash it on) then some sea salt and some oregano and place in the oven.
  9. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes before adding in the pheasant.
  10. Cook the pheasant for 30 minutes or until it is cooked (use a thermometer if you must but much like a chicken until the juices run clear).
  11. Ensure it is basted and spoon on more Harissa if required as it call fall off the bird, during cooking.
  12. The cool oven to 100°C for 10 minutes.
  13. Rest the pheasant for 15 minutes.
  14. The potatoes can be removed when they are nice and crispy.
  15. Finally serve with the pheasant and harissa paste.


The beautiful plate and bowl were made by Cork and Midleton ceramicist Susan Herlihy https://www.facebook.com/ceramic.art.10/

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