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Leftover pheasant (or turkey) and chestnut risotto

It’s a funny old world. One minute I’m swerving all over the country lanes to avoid hitting a pheasant in the road, the next I’m eating one for dinner. I don’t eat pheasant often, but it being the season and they are so plentiful around here, that I bought a few last week. These were from the Chatsworth estate, so they’d had a pretty good life thus far, don’t feel too bad for them. If you’ve never had it before, pheasant is like a smaller, fattier chicken that is full of flavour. The best way to cook them Adam tells me (I have to be honest, he made the original pheasant dish and I just dealt with the leftovers) is to pan fry the birds whole, then finish in the oven, making a sauce with the pan juices and some wine. It was lovely, but we had quite a lot of leftovers. 
Hence the risotto. I created this recipe for Instant Pot, who I love working with as I am evangelical about my own machine. Instant Pot is an electronic pressure cooker for those who don’t know. It made this risotto in ten minutes, no stirring required. I have included both methods below, for those who are interested (or already have one) and those who don’t. Seriously though, if you’ve been asked by your partner what you’d like for Chrimbo, I’d give this some thought. Check out other Instant Pot recipes by me. 
Obviously this would be excellent with leftover turkey (throw in some chopped, leftover Brussels at the end too), and also with chicken. I used the carcasses to make a quick stock (10 minutes on manual, just bones and boiling water to cover), so I felt very pleased to have squeezed every last bit of value and flavour from our three birds. 
Serves: 4  
Prep time: 5 minutes 
Cook time: 10 minutes (20 minutes without an IP)
Total time: 15 minutes (25 minutes without an IP)

Leftover pheasant (or chicken, or turkey) – about 200-300g, chopped into bite size pieces
200g vacuum packed chestnuts, chopped roughly
300g Arborio (or carnaroli) risotto rice
800ml stock (ideally from the carcass, but if not bouillon or cubes are fine)
Small glass of white wine (about 175ml)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon of olive oil
50g parmesan, grated, plus more to serve
Fresh parsley, chopped roughly
Salt and pepper
To serve:            
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
More parmesan
Instant Pot Instructions: 
  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute. Add oil.
  2. Soften onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add the rice and and coat in the oil.
  4. Now tip in the wine and stock. And the chestnuts too – but not the meat, it is already cooked so you will add that last.
  5. Secure lid. Press Cancel and set to Rice for 10 minutes.
  6. Let it stay on the Keep Warm setting once cooked. Release steam and stir in the meat and grated parmesan, stirring well to release the creaminess. You may like to add a splash of boiling water to loosen it; it’s up to you. Wait until the meat is thoroughly heated through before serving.
  7. Serve with a green salad, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some more parmesan.

Normal Instructions: 

  1. Soften onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes.  
  2. Add rice and coat in oil for 2 more minutes. 
  3. Tip in wine and let it sizzle off for a moment. Add the chestnuts. 
  4. Stir, gradually adding the hot stock ladle by ladle. You may need more stock or boiling water sing this method, so have a boiled kettle ready. The rice is ready once it is puffed up and cooked through (taste to see). It should take about 20 minutes. 
  5. Add the cooked meat and heat through. 
  6. Finally for the parmesan and parsley. 
  7. Serve with some nice leaves, a drizzle of good olive oil and freshly grated parmesan.



  1. December 30, 2015 / 6:15 pm

    Hi Rachel, today was the day I plucked up the courage to try out the IP I bought several months ago. I had turkey and used the carcass to make the stock as suggested. As it was my first time to use the Instant Pot, there was some toing and froing between your recipe and the instruction book. I had to adjust the sauté to 'less' as the garlic burnt to a frazzle first time 'round. My family had been looking on with interest/some trepidation at the workings of the IP during the day! I'm pleased to report that the risotto was tasty and well received 'though I left out the chestnuts as I just didn't have them.
    I don't have a great record with cooking risotto and was very relieved that it worked so well!
    I clicked on the link for your other IP recipes but it didn't yield anything. If you get a chance can you look at that as I'd like to tackle something else. All in all I feel a lot more confident that the IP will come out of the cupboard more often.
    I wish you all the best for the New Year.

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