What to do with a whole smoked pheasant?
Yesterday we stopped in to a smokehouse in upstate NY, and purchased a bunch of stuff, including a whole smoked pheasant. Now I'm wondering the best way to use this bird. Any ideas? We are a small family, and I don't have any big parties on the horizon.
Oh goodness - PLEASE don't follow "sonsofthunder"'s advice. Your bird is already fully cooked & smoked. Brining it would RUIN it!!!
I really like smoked pheasant, & as others have already said, it's wonderful cold or at room temperature & sliced for sandwiches or part of a "cold plate". And since pheasants aren't large birds, I've also enjoyed them warm & quartered - just like you'd enjoy a quarter of a chicken. I just wrap the whole bird in aluminum foil & stick it in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until heated through. Cut the bird into quarters with poultry shears, add a couple of side dishes (I like buttered egg noodles & green beans myself), & you're good to go. A nice meal for 4, or a meal for 2 with another-dinner or a couple of lunch leftovers.
A couple of things I've done when I was given smoked pheasant by a hunting family are to shred the meat and add it to risotto with leeks, and to mix small pieces into a dish or tender braised cabbage (Marcella Hazan's braised cabbage, Venetian-style is my fave: http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w... ). It blends well with these preps, which also allow the flavor of the pheasant to shine.
Ha! This takes me back to when my husband was in grad school. Kids were toddlers, and could sleep through anything! We had a big party at our house, after a dress rehearsal for something. I put a couple of smoked (cooked) pheasants out on the table, whole. The next time I looked, they were picked clean to the bone.
It was a great party. The neighbor guy came upon an overturned beer truck (it was the first big snow storm of the season), and because he helped him out, the beer guy gave our neighbor a pickup load of beer. He brought it to the party.
And there was a scheduled power outage (I had forgotten about) when the party was at it's height.
Ahh, those were the days.
Last time I had some smoked pheasant that a friend's dad had made, I sliced it thin and put it in panini with arugula, ripe tomatoes and good mayo. It really was delicious.
Otherwise, it's good for snacking with cheese and crackers. It would be good on top of a salad with some bitter or peppery lettuces and maybe some craisins or other dried fruit.
I am guessing that you purchased a fully-cooked, ready-to-eat smoked bird.
If this is correct, lucky you. I wouldn't put too much work into getting dinner on the table.
I would buy a fresh baguette, slice the pheasant thinly and enjoy as an open faced sandwich on small rounds of baguette. Add almost any of the things you might use with smoked meat or fish, mustard, sliced avocado, etc.
The second meal would be pre-sliced pieces tossed into a salad or dish of warm pasta.
I would carefully collect the skin and bones form the first two meals and boil it down for stock to make a bean soup.
Soak it in a home made brine overnight...then slow grill it over wood chips if possible.
One good brine, of course you can adjust to flavors on hand etc is:
2Qts Apple Juice
cup Kosher Salt
Cup Brown Sugar
after that just whatever you like really...Onion, Garlic, Apples, Lemons, Rosemary, Thyme,
Butter, Bay Leaves, Cayenne Peppers, etc...
Bring Apple Juice and brine mix to a boil to dissolve well...Some say let cool to room temp for 30 minutes...but I always sit the mix in the fridge and bring down to the temp of the bird before placing it in the brine. Overnight is good, even better after 2 days. If you have a smoker...maybe 200 degrees for 4 to 6 hours...if not Grill's good.
Also, after the 24 hour brine of course, and drying the bird off...Low heat @ 5 hours in the crock pot with dry white wine and favorite spices is tasty...