Launching Lord Hamilton’s Apley Estate Smoked Pheasant

The ultimate free-range food has just been developed on an estate near Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Lady Hamilton has just launched a fine food, a premium product – Apley’s own smoked pheasant in a very accessible, ready to eat form.

Lord Hamilton inherited the 8000 acre Apley Estate in 2006 & after 10 years of trying pheasant cooked in dozens of ways, he found a new, tasty way to enjoy this game bird. Lady Hamilton has since spent 2 yrs testing & researching, until the launch in October.

Lady Hamilton explained“We had a golden ticket moment in 2016 when a London food shop expressed interest in the product putting us in the wonderful position of having identified the market & an outlet before we’d even fully developed the product.”

As the product carried very low food miles, its provenance is short & clear. The pheasants are reared on the Apley Estate by Apley’s gamekeepers then plucked & breasted out in Apley’s own game larder. The pheasant breasts (with skin on) are cured, hot smoked then cooked sous-vide at a local smokery in Worcestershire. They’re then sold as unsliced individual breasts, but multi-packs are also available on request. 

It hardly tastes like pheasant cooked in other ways & has a subtle taste of the beechwood in which its smoked. It’s very moist & succulent, full of flavour. It’s ready to eat, cold or warmed.

It’s currently sold through Apley Farm Shop which opened in 2011, www.ApleyOnline.com which was launched in 2016 & in local restaurants. Plans to sell it wholesale & more widely are in place.

“It’s all part of our wider remit to diversify the estate, to ensure its future viability.“
added Lord Hamilton.

It’s particularly good as a canapé, snack, hors d’oeuvre, in picnics, salads or lunch boxes. Try it with Pinot Noir or Reisling. To fill a Smoked Pheasant hamper, add a chunk of Apley’s own cheese & some of Lady Hamilton’s own range of chutneys or horseradish sauce.

Questions & Answers

Why eat it ?

  • Low food miles
  • The ultimate free range food
  • The best way to enjoy pheasant
  • It tastes different from pheasant cooked in other ways
  • Lower in salt than other smoked products
  • High protein, low fat
  • A real super food & brain food
  • Slim food; boosts energy levels
  • Freezes well

What do others think of it so far ?

We sold 172 packs at our Apley Christmas Market 2017.
Many of the customers were not living in the countryside & hadn’t ever tasted pheasant before, let alone smoked pheasant.
Those who had tasted roast pheasant in the past (& found it high & dry), were unsure they wanted to try the smoked pheasant breast – but liked it when they did.
“Better than other 50 ways to eat pheasant.”
“And I didn’t think I liked pheasant … “
“The best way to eat pheasant … “
Best news: Children loved it !

What’s its shelf life ? 
2 weeks shelf life from the smoking date
Eat within 3 days of opening.
Freeze only for 6 months

Where can I buy some ?
Visit Apley Farm Shop – open 7 days a week
www.ApleyOnline.com
London: A large London shop & a London wholesaler are keen to launch it in early 2018.

Why has this product not been available until now ? 
After extensive research, we’ve never yet found anyone else selling Smoked Pheasant breasts anywhere else.
It’s taken 2 years of product development & that takes time, ££ & tenacity.
So we think this may be a global first !
It’s never before been made available in the same ready to eat form

How has it been treated ? 
The birds live very free lives in the Apley Estate woods – so we feel this meat has a high ‘ethical’ ranking.
5000 are shot every year, then plucked & breasted on the estate.
It gets collected from the Apley Butchery chillers & taken to Macneil’s Smokehouse in Worcestershire (less than 1 hr from Apley Farm Shop).
Macneil’s dry cure it, hot smoke it then cook it sous-vide.
They then deliver it back to us, at the same time as they deliver a variety of their multi-award winning products such as smoked salmon & smoked mackerel.
It’s periodically sent to some British food testing laboratories to have microbiology tests.
Once back in Apley Farm Shop, some is kept in chillers at 2°C & some is frozen (we stock pile for the months outside the shooting season)
Farm Shop customers buy it in the farm shop or online at www.ApleyOnline.com
We courier it with a Next Day Delivery service, in polystyrene boxes, wood wool & ice packs (please recycle or reuse).

How / when do you eat it ?
Currently it’s available only available as unsliced breasts.
It’s ready to eat.
We recommend avoiding eating it with foods with a strong flavour, so you can appreciate the full taste of the smoked pheasant itself.
Once it’s been very thinly sliced, it may dry out if warmed, so we recommend eating it cold.
Canape: very thinly sliced short-ways. Put on crackers, mini round toasts or blinis, spread a bed of cream cheese or horse radish, add the slice of pheasant & top with any savoury condiments (eg. Lady Hamilton’s onion marmlade) or even caviar
Hors d’oeuvres: very thinly sliced length-ways. Serve on a bed of watercress with a spot of colour, eg. from sliced cherry tomatoes.
Salad: very thinly sliced length-ways. Serve cold on a bed of baby spinach with mango & cashew nuts.
Picnics: sliced on a granary roll with lettuce.
Snacks: slice thinly & get just on its own !
Lunches: slice thinly & place in a wholemeal pitta bread with a slice of Apley Cheshire cheese. Try with a bowl of soup & a seasonal British apple.

When can I buy it ?
1 Nov to 1 Feb – we smoked fresh, chilled pheasant breasts
2 Feb to 31 July – we can only stock frozen smoked pheasant breasts, so stock up now !
Aug Sept Oct – we are working on an idea to fill this gap !

Can you deliver it ?
It can be sent by courier (Next Day delivery service for £7-13 approx. depending on weight).

Can I freeze it ?
It freezes very well
Its taste & texture remain unchanged after defrosting
It takes up very little room

Smoked Pheasant on BBC Radio Shropshire

Listen again to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Paul Shuttleworth’s Sunday Kitchen programme on 7 January 2018, when he interviewed Lady Harriet Hamilton about the development of Lord Hamilton’s Apley Estate Smoked Pheasant.