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Norfolk Pheasant & Pearl Barley Broth

Here's one to warm the cockles if you're game (sorry). Local chef Andy Parle gives us his fail-safe recipe for a feel-good winter soup.

Photograph by Sam Barker Photo

Andy Parle has spent 30 years as a professional chef in the catering industry across the UK and has developed a local and national reputation for sourcing and cooking exceptionally tasty, simple yet stylish food. Andy fully appreciates Norfolk’s abundance of quality locally products, and as a result every one of his dishes is made from the best in game, livestock, seafood, dairy and market garden produce.


  • 1 dressed pheasant – rinse inside and out and place in a cooking pot with enough room to just cover the bird with water
  • 1 medium sized English onion – peel and cut into quarters
  • 2 medium carrots – peel, top and tail and cut in half length ways
  • 1 stick of celery – wash and cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic. In their skins is fine
  • 1 leek top – halved and thoroughly washed, reserve the rest for the main soup
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 peppercorns or a good few rasps of the pepper mill
  • 1 level teaspoon of sea salt


  1. Place the pan on the heat and bring gently to a simmer. As the water is about to come to the boil a thick scum will appear, skim this off with a ladle and reduce the heat
  2. Add all the other ingredients, push them into the water and place a lid on the pan. When the water has resumed simmering make sure it is doing so gently
  3. After 1 hour the bird should be well cooked. Check that the meat is falling from the carcass and if so remove from the heat and leave covered for 30 minutes to cool a little. If you are unsure it’s cooked leave the pot simmering for 15 minutes more
  4. While the pheasant is cooking and cooling begin preparing the ingredients to complete the dish
  5. After 30 minutes strain the contents of the pot. Place a colander over a sizable pan, lift the pheasant and vegetables out of the pan with a couple of kitchen spoons into the colander then ladle the stock through the colander
  6. Roughly strip the meat from the carcass. Once done then go through and strip or chop the meat finely taking care to feel for bone fragments or shot as you go. Cover and reserve

To complete

  • 200g pearl barley. Rinse in cold water and drain. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, skim off any scum and cook gently for 25 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool in the pan covered with a lid. Once cool drain through a sieve and reserve
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250g rindless smoked streaky bacon rashers cut into fine strips. Try and get some good quality bacon from your butcher, preferably smoked on site as this will give a real depth of flavour
  • 300g English onion. Peeled and finely diced
  • 300g carrot. Peeled and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice
  • 100g celery. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice
  • 30g garlic. Peeled and sliced
  • 200g leek. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice
  • 500g potato. Washed and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice
  • 400g swede peeled and cut to approximately 1.5cm/1/2 inch dice
  • A good slug of medium sherry (optional)
  • 150g greens. Savoy cabbage or curly kale would be my pick, stalk removed, cut into fine 2.5cm/1inch strips, washed and drained
  • Small handful of parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper


  1. Warm a large pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the oil, allow it to warm for 1 minute and then add the bacon. Allow to cook gently, stirring occasionally until the bacon has rendered and beginning to get crispy
  2. Add the onion and carrot, give the contents of the pan a good stir and place a lid on the pan. Allow to cook gently for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables have softened to the touch
  3. Add the celery and garlic, stir in, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes
  4. Now add the leek, potato and swede. Season with a little salt and pepper remembering the stock has already got some seasoning. Continue to cook without a lid for 5 minutes or so stirring occasionally
  5. Add the sherry if using and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the stock using a sieve to strain any little bits of debris. Bring to a simmer, replace the lid and turn down the heat so the contents of the pan are cooking gently
  6. After approximately 15 minutes the swede and potatoes should be soft to the touch. Add the cabbage, parsley and barley. Cook for a further 5 minutes, taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. The soup is no ready to serve

Andy Parle Catering 07786 637 951

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