Every Autumn during hunting season, hunters from across the country bring home pheasant. You can easily adapt most regular poultry recipes for cooking this bird. All you need is a little know-how to whip up a delicious pheasant dish!
Cooking Young Pheasant – Decide if you have a young pheasant. A young bird will have a flexible breastbone, gray legs and a pointed large terminal feather in its wings. A young male will also have rounded spurs.Roast a young pheasant in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes per pound. You may stuff it with chestnut or sausage dressing and generally treat it like roast chicken.
Split the pheasant down the back and rub with garlic and unsalted butter if you choose to broil it. Place the oven rack about 4 inches below the broiler and baste it frequently with melted fat, oil or wine. Cook it until the wild game bird is tender.
Cooking Older Pheasant – Examine the male’s spurs–an older male will have longer, sharper spurs.Bard the bird before cooking. To bard it, make small cuts in the breast and thigh of the pheasant and place slivers of bacon in these cuts. Make sure the bacon slivers are at right angles to the breastbone.
Braise the pheasant if it is an older bird. Melt 1/4 cup of lard in a heavy pan and brown the bird. Then place it in a casserole, add 12 sliced mushroom caps, 1 small sliced onion and 1/2 cup Marsala or Madeira. Cover the casserole and bake for about half an hour.
Roast an Older Pheasant – Cook an older pheasant in sauce to avoid dryness. Bard the wild game bird and fill the cavity with apple or onion slices. Then roast it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Remove the meat from the bones and cook for 2 hours in a stock made with 2 large onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 bay leaves, 1 cup chopped parsley, 1 quart dry red wine, 2 quarts water or chicken stock and 3 fresh tomatoes.
Simmer until the stock has reduced to about half, add 3/4 cup cream sauce, chopped mushrooms and 3/4 cup red wine. Simmer for 25 more minutes. Arrange the meat on a plate and pour the sauce over.
Try Pheasant Soup – Make a nice pheasant soup out of an older wild game bird. Saute 2 onions, 1 clove garlic, chopped celery and carrots until tender. Add pheasant pieces and cook until brown.
Add 8 cups chicken stock, add 1 pound sliced mushrooms, 1 cup whole kernel corn and 1 sprig of thyme. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
Take the pheasant pieces out of the pot and pull the meat off the bones. Cut up meat, return it to the kettle and reheat before serving.