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Pheasant

Should I brine it before roasting? Any good and clever ideas for preparation?

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  1. is it wild game? if so you may want to consider larding it and then slow roasting.

    personally, i wouldn't want to mask the flavor so wouldn't brine it.

    these birds have so much more flavor than chicken i don't burden them with much sauce other than drippings, butter and some salt and pepper. a splash of citrus won't hurt.

    1. If you are comfortable de-boning them, they can be sauteed and then you can make a sauce from raspberries, chestnuts, honey, and if you can find them, rose petals.

      1. My favorite way to eat pheasant is smoked, served on toast points. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

        1. I have a James Beard recipe for fricassee of pheasant that was amazing. I can paraphrase if you're interested.

          2 Replies
            1. re: law_doc89

              My pleasure. Unfortunately there's no link.

              1/2 C flour
              2 mature pheasants, cut into pieces
              6T butter
              1-1/2C chicken broth
              1 onion, stuck with cloves
              1-1/2t salt
              1/2 t black pepper
              1t thyme
              1 bay leaf
              Beurre manie'
              1C heavy cream
              1/4C sherry or Madeira

              Flour lightly and saute in butter til barely colored. Don't brown. Add broth, onion and seasonings and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer til tender, 45 minutes to 1-1/4 hrs.

              Remove the birds to a hot platter and adjust the seasonings, removing the onion and bay leaf. Thicken the broth with the beurre manie and stir in the heavy cream and wine. Simmer til the consistency is right. If you wish, you can add the pieces of bird back to the pan to reheat.

              He recommends serving (and I did - I don't argue with the likes of JB!) on a platter with a mound of white rice in the center and passing the sauce.

              We had a couple of friends over to share this and he and I were in the kitchen moaning over the taste of that sauce :) It's really good. I don't have access to pheasant regularly but I have a rabbit in the freezer that a friend said would do quite well with this prep. Enjoy

          1. I would not brine. Growing up, wild pheasant regularly made an appearance on the table. My grandmother just roasted it.

            A fast forward 30 years, close friends of ours are avid hunters and they smoke their pheasant and serve it sliced thin for appetizers.

            1. Thanks all! It's a domestic farm raised bird I'll experiment with, going for moist as my previous attempts have been dry - all of the ideas give me hope for a succulent Saturday dinner for me and my dh this Saturday!

              2 Replies
              1. re: OCEllen

                How are you "going for moist"? Curious to know. Please.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Not sure yet. But I want to thank everyone for their good ideas! I'll probably cook it this coming weekend.

              2. I just roast mine (farm raised) as I would a chicken in a pan. Just being sure to baste regularly with melted butter & pan juices. Turns out great - juicy & crisp-skinned.

                Brining? Nah. That's a fad/fetish I've never used or will. I'm perfectly happy with the pheasant, chicken, turkey, & guinea fowl,I've produced without brining. Go figure.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bacardi1

                  IGreat! Not a brining fan either! Low salt definatly healthier!

                2. Agree with the others here. Keep as much flavor as possible. Goodness knows there's not much meat on them. Wild birds are a lot more flavorful than farm raised. It's what they eat. The next time I get a wild pheasant I'll 'SV' it for sure.
                  Last weekend we happened on a local farmer who has dozens and dozens of guinea fowl that have been running wild for years all over his property. The previous owner couldn't contain the little buggers.
                  When the farmer wants a feast of guinea fowl he puts some corn in a raccoon trap and the next day he has a bird in the trap. He does this every day until he has the number he wants to process. The one's he captures are hustled off to another farm b/c if he tries to keep them on his farm in a pen they make such a racket they scare the other birds away. Anyway. He's marked us down for a few in a couple of weeks. I'll put up some 'before and after' photos after the 'SV' treatment.