Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pheasant Stew and Fricassee

My husband has taken up hunting the last couple of years, which is great for me because I grew up hunting and eating game all my life.

Hunting on the slopes of Mauna Kea

Just to be clear, as I've been harping the vegetarianese over the last year, I've got no problem eating meat that's been sustainably harvested. (Wait, is meat "harvested?") I'm just doing my best to avoid industrialized meat that been packaged and shipped to us across the Pacific.


We've had fun creating recipes around the lovely pheasant, urkel, and turkey he's brought home. I had the most fun showing him how to skin and prepare the birds for eating. It reminded me how much more the food is appreciated when you can make a connection with the life (be it plant or animal) that it once was.

D with pheasants

Dustin made an awesome fricassee with the breast meat and I cooked up some stew in the slow cooker.

One of the most difficult aspects of preparing game birds is that they dry out very quickly. You have to have a strategy for keeping the meat moist, which means adding some sort of fat. The recipes below are really just guidelines, ideas to help you in preparing game birds.


Finished fricassee

Pheasant Fricassee
serves 4

Breasts of 2 pheasants, skinned and deboned
1 cup milk
1 glug olive oil
1 cup white wine
5 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 yellow onion
large handful mushrooms, slices
salt & pepper
large handful of mixed fresh thyme, oregano, and sage
1 smoked pork sausage (bacon can sub here)

Marinate the breasts in the milk, olive oil, and wine for at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

In a large cast iron pan, heat some more oil over medium high heat and cook up the onions, mushrooms, sausage and garlic with some salt and pepper. Add the breasts along with the marinade and herbs into the pan and turn the heat down to medium low. Gently simmer the mixture until the breasts are cooked through, maybe 20-30 minutes.

Pheasant Stew
serves 4

Legs, thighs, wings, and backs of 2 pheasants (backs may be stretching it for some, omit if you don't like a gamey flavor)
1 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, slices
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 TBL fresh thyme
2 cups stock

Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add some olive oil. Put flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a paper bag. Add the pheasant pieces and coat with the flour mixture. Brown the pheasant pieces in the pan, making sure not to crowd the pan so they will brown. You may have to do this in 2 batches. As soon as the meat is browned, add it to a slow cooker.

Deglaze the pan you just used with the wine by adding the wine to the hot pan and swirling to loosen the the browned bits. Add this to the slow cooker.

Add the veggies, stock, and herbs to the slow cooker on top of the meat. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with rice or biscuits. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. You never cease to amaze me Gwen. Seriously. I love that philosophy and find it inspirational. I think I'm going to try that pheasant fricassee. It sounds amazing. It's going to sound weird but I'd never thought of how vital it was to add fat to game birds to prevent them from drying out. It totally makes sense though. I can't believe how lucky I am to have found your site.


Aloha Saturdays with Maggy reader! Thank you for your comments, I love hearing your thoughts and feedback.


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