Pheasant meatballs with orzo

If you want to use leftover pheasant, a modest amount makes this dish a great weeknight meal.

These juicy pheasant meatballs are full of flavor and pair perfectly with al dente orzo pasta. The combination of tender meatballs and the nutty texture of orzo creates a filling meal that the whole family will enjoy.

Quick and easy to prepare, this recipe is perfect for those busy evenings when you want to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal without having to spend hours in the kitchen. Serve with a fresh side salad or steamed vegetables for a complete and balanced dinner.


  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 150g leftover pheasant meat picked from the carcass (including skin and fat)
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • Zest and squeeze 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • small grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for greasing
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 200g orzo
  • 80g baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 20g finely grated Parmesan, plus some Parmesan for serving

Preparation steps

  1. For the meatballs, place the shallot, garlic and pheasant in a blender and chop finely.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice, yogurt and egg and puree again until the mixture clumps, then pour into a bowl.
  3. Add the pistachios and parsley, mix well and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  4. Oil your hands and roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
  7. Heat the olive oil and rosemary in a nonstick or heavy-bottomed skillet, stirring to infuse the oil. Then add the meatballs and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning gently, until browned all over.
  8. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserving the rosemary oil, and place the meatballs in a roasting pan.
  9. Place in the oven for 10 minutes to heat while you cook the pasta.
  10. Cook the orzo according to package directions and drain until al dente, reserving some of the water.
  11. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the olive oil in the frying pan and add the pasta along with the spinach, stirring until the infused oil is covered.
  12. Warm slightly over a low heat, then stir in the crème fraîche and Parmesan and a little pasta water (or stock if you have it).
  13. Season and distribute on plates, top with the meatballs.
  14. Serve with additional Parmesan if desired.

Nutritional Information

Equipment and tools

To prepare and cook the Pheasant Meatballs with Orzo recipe, you will need the following equipment and tools:

  • cutting board
  • Knife
  • Bowl
  • baking tray
  • Oven
  • frying pan
  • Pot
  • wooden spoon
  • platter

Allergen information

The Pheasant Meatballs with Orzo Recipe may contain the following allergens:

  • Gluten (from breadcrumbs)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (from yogurt, crème fraîche and parmesan)
  • Tree nuts (from pistachios)

Storage and leftovers

Store leftover Pheasant Meatballs with Orzo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven before serving again.

Health Benefits of Pheasant Meatballs with Orzo

Pheasant meatballs with orzo are not only a delicious dish but also offer several health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritious ingredients used in this recipe.

1. Pheasant meat

Pheasant meat is a lean source of protein with little saturated fat. It provides essential amino acids required for muscle growth, muscle repair and overall body function. Including lean meats like pheasant in your diet can aid weight management and boost metabolism.

2. Shallot and garlic

Shallots and garlic are members of the Allium family of vegetables and are known for their potential health benefits. Both shallots and garlic contain antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.

3. Lemon

The zest and juice of a lemon not only give the meatballs a tangy taste, but also provide a healthy dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that protects cells from damage, supports collagen production and improves iron absorption.

4. Natural yogurt and egg

Natural yogurt and egg are used as binding agents in the meatball mixture. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which promote a healthy gut by improving digestion and nutrient absorption. Eggs, on the other hand, are packed with nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium and choline, which are essential for brain function and overall health.

5. Pistachios and flat-leaf parsley

Pistachios and flat-leaf parsley not only add a delicious crunch, but also provide additional health benefits. Pistachios are rich in healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants, which may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Flat-leaf parsley is a good source of vitamins A, C and K as well as iron and calcium.

6. Olive oil and rosemary

Olive oil used to cook the meatballs is a heart-healthy fat that contains monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to adding a delightful aroma, rosemary contains compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit digestion and brain health.

7. Orzo and baby spinach

Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, provides carbohydrates for energy and small amounts of fiber. Baby spinach leaves, packed with vitamins A, C and K as well as iron, folic acid and fiber, contribute to overall nutritional value, support a healthy immune system and aid digestion.

8. Crème Fraîche and Parmesan

Crème fraîche and Parmesan give the dish richness and creaminess. Although they should be consumed in moderation due to their high fat content, they provide small amounts of calcium, protein and vitamins.

By incorporating these aromatic pheasant meatballs with orzo recipe into your diet, you can enjoy a taste experience while benefiting from the variety of essential nutrients. Remember to use healthy cooking methods and portion control to make this dish part of a balanced diet.

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