21 Nov Special of the day: A Hunting We Will Go: Favorite Pheasant Recipes
Tis the season…for hunting, that is. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into lately whose significant others and/or spouses head out of town to go hunting for the weekend. For some, the appeal lies in experiencing the wide open spaces, a chance to stretch your legs, get some exercise and breathe in the fresh clean air we enjoy in the great state of Montana. A hunting they will go…
For a few hunting seasons now, I’ve had some friends hint at the fact that they’d welcome a Special of the day column and some tried-and-true recipes for preparing pheasant.
Fortunately for me this fall, our friend Dr. Mike Dube offered up his wife Adrienne’s signature style of preparing the pheasants he brings home, and Adrienne kindly shared an invitation to try her Bacon-stuffed Pheasant with Mushroom Wine Sauce, which was delicious.
Adrienne began looking for ways to prepare pheasant after she married Mike who has been an avid hunter since he was little and hunted deer, partridge and ruffed grouse with his dad back east.
Pheasant can tend to dry out, Adrienne said, so she has adapted the original recipe she found in The North American Hunter’s Handbook, over time, cooking the bacon-stuffed pheasant breasts in a wine sauce in the slow cooker, rather than simmering them on the stove.
Cooking up a column on hunting, I felt compelled to ask our good friend Roger Witt who has been hunting pheasants for as long as I’ve known him. When I did ask, he referred me along to his pal Jeff Ferguson. “Jeff’s got more pheasant than he knows what to do with…” Roger said. What luck for me! Just back from a hunting trip to celebrate his birthday, Jeff stepped forward with a few favorite recipes of his own to share.
With thanks to Dr. Mike and Adrienne Dube and Jeff Ferguson, I give you this week’s Special of the day: A Hunting We Will Go: Favorite Pheasant Recipes and recipes for Bacon-Stuffed Pheasant with Mushroom Wine Sauce, PHEASANT DEL-LA-H and Pheasant nuggets. Happy cooking!
Bacon-Stuffed Pheasant with Mushroom Wine Sauce
Recipe by Adrienne Dube
Earthy from the mushrooms and thyme and silky from the wine and cream, this pheasant dish cooked in the slow cooking makes it more tender than simmering it on the stove in the wine sauce.
4 bacon slices
4 boneless pheasant breasts
4 slices gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 shallot, chopped
2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth/stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste
Between two pieces of plastic wrap pound pheasant as thin as possible without the breast meat tearing. This may vary due to the size of the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Brown bacon in a sauté pan. Remove from heat, drain bacon on a paper towel. Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to pan. Lay the pheasant on a cutting board. To each add one slice of bacon and cheese cut to fit. Roll up from one end, tucking the edges in as you go. Secure with 2-3 toothpicks as needed. Brown the stuffed pheasant rolls on all sides in a sauté pan over medium high heat, a few minutes a side. Be sure to not turn the meat until it releases from the pan. After the pheasant is browned transfer to a slow cooker. Add another tablespoon of oil if needed to the sauté pan and add the shallots and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until nicely browned. Add the shallots and mushroom over the pheasant in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme. Over medium high heat, deglaze the sauté pan with the white wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat, stir in the cream. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour the liquid over the pheasant in the slow cooker.
Turn slow cooker in low and cook for 2-4 hours until tender and cooked through. Remove tooth picks, serve over rice pilaf or wild rice.
Recipe by Jeff Ferguson
Jeff Ferguson’s notes: This a recipe from my late grandmother in North Dakota. She gave it to me, and I have made a few minor changes to it.
3 pheasants cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup flour
3 cans of Campbell’s garlic cream of mushroom soup
½ cup half and half
7-ounce can of canned green chiles
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. paprika
Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a large plastic bag and mix thoroughly. Add pheasant to mixture after drying on paper towels and the place pieces in a large frying pan with just the bottom covered in olive oil. Brown in the oil until just turning a nice brown color and place into a larger casserole baking dish.
Combine soup, chiles (do not drain) and half and half. Place on top of the browned pheasant and put into the oven set at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half. Check at 45 minutes. Again, do not overcook. Pheasant should be a little moist inside.
Serve with wild rice and Caesar salad. The soup mixture is great on the rice!
Recipe by Jeff Ferguson
Jeff Ferguson’s notes: This a recipe I came up with a few years ago. My in laws turned me onto the panko bread crumbs. You can use Progresso parmesan bread crumbs in this recipe as well. This is my wife and daughter’s favorite recipe, and it really is very simple.
2 pheasants, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup flour
2 boxes of parmesan panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a gallon sized plastic bag and shake to mix. Take pheasant that has been dried on a paper towel and combine with flour mixture. Remove pheasant pieces from flour, dredge in eggs, then in panko bread crumbs and place in large frying pan with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry until just turning a nice brown color and remove pheasant to a cookie sheet and place into the oven set at 350 degrees. Cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Pheasant should still be a little moist inside when removed from the oven. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Serve immediately.
Dunk nuggets in a red chili sauce (my wife’s favorite and she gets it at Sam’s club), horseradish sauce (my favorite), ranch and of course ketchup, (my daughter’s favorite) and serve with fries or onion rings.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at email@example.com. Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.