JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Cry Of The Pheasant

One more time around for pheasants and Paul Southworth Bliss, in honor of Saturday’s 2017 Pheasant Season Opener.

This will be my 59th pheasant season. Actually more because before I was 12 in 1959, when my dad bought me my first shotgun, I had tagged along since I was able to keep up with him in the field, probably starting at age 8 or 9. And actually less because I missed a few seasons in the ’60s and ’70s when I was away in the Navy and migrating between California and North Dakota.

And then there was last year. An early October bout of bronchitis turned to pneumonia, and I was sick the whole month. Then November came, and the weather got good, and Jeff, Wayne and I fished pretty much every day, telling ourselves there’d be plenty of time to hunt when it got cold. So we fished right up through Thanksgiving weekend, when we got hit with the terrible blizzard dumping feet of snow on our hunting grounds. We hunted pheasants once in December, in waist-high snowbanks , and I didn’t get one bird, the first pheasant season I’ve gone without shooting at least one in many, many years.

Well, anyway, I’ve chased pheasants for a lot of years, and it’s an eagerly awaited time of year for the Fuglie boys, thanks to a dad who literally decided where he wanted to live after graduating from optometry school in 1950 based on pheasants. He had offers from three North Dakota towns — Grafton, Ellendale ad Hettinger — and chose Hettinger because of good pheasant hunting. Thank you, dad, from all of your boys.

So, starting Saturday morning, and for the next eight or 10 weeks, I’ll join about 90,000 or so of my best friends in one of North Dakota’s favorite pastimes, hunting pheasants. In honor of the season, thought I might rerun a post from a few years ago with some of the poetry of Paul Southworth Bliss, my favorite North Dakota poet.

* **

Paul Southworth Bliss was no outdoorsman. Born in Wisconsin in 1889, educated at Harvard, a World War I veteran, where he rose to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army, Bliss began his professional career as a newspaper reporter and music critic. But sometime in the mid-1930s, he found himself driving the back roads of North Dakota during the darkest days of the Great Depression, as front man for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Progress Administration relief program.

He traveled the state with with pen and paper in hand, and he used his gift as a poet to describe what he saw and felt on those long, dusty, sometimes freezing cold, sometimes sweltering hot, roads. From those North Dakota travels came three of his seven published books of poetry, three volumes full of poems about places in North Dakota. And what makes Bliss’ poetry so enjoyable is that he identifies the time and place where each poem happened to him, and in many cases, you can say “Yeah, I’ve been there.” But generally, Bliss throws a whole new light on those places.

Bliss has been dead 75 years, but I’m still a fan of his poetry and short essays. He spent as much time in the Badlands as possible, and loved what he saw there, and in his unique style, found ways to describe the countryside that I have never seen before. For example, this line from a poem called “Blue Heaven”:

Under the torture of 47 degrees below.

The air of McKenzie County

Is pure as the soul of Christ.

Bliss comes to mind as October — Pheasant Month at my house from the time I was old enough to jump into the back of Dad’s station wagon — begins calling me from my warm bed on those first few cold mornings of late fall. His seasonal poetry is some of his best, and it’s clean and clear and shows an obvious love for his adopted state. Two of my favorite Bliss poems — one about pheasants, the other about dogs — are the reason I’m thinking about him right now.

But now, for me, in retirement, October is much more diversified.

When I was a student and then when working for a living, hunting and fishing were done pretty much on weekends, and so choices had to be made, and in October I most often chose pheasants. But now, it is not unusual for me to be sitting in a duck slough or a goose blind or a fishing boat on a Wednesday in October, sometimes more than one of them in a day, because in retirement, every day is Saturday, and there’s time to do everything.

What I don’t do much of in October is read, especially poetry. Now, my reading is pretty much left to those winter days when the wind is blowing too hard to go ice fishing or summer days when it is too hot to sit in a boat. But on those days, I often turn to Bliss to remind myself what a great place we live in.

You can probably find Bliss’ books in your local public library, or buy them online at Amazon.com, or your favorite used book website, or you can just Google Paul Southworth Bliss poetry, and you’ll find a place to buy his books. They’re all out of print now, so they might be a little pricey, but if you shop around a bit, you can probably find one in your price range.

Without further ado, let me share a couple of his best poems with you. Both are from a volume titled “The Rye Is The Sea,” printed right here in Bismarck, in 1936, using recycled farmers’ burlap bags for the covers.

In the introduction to this book, Bliss writes “Attention is invited to the physical appearance of this book. ‘The Rye is the Sea’could be produced from a farm village. The burlap binding is the gunny sack of agriculture. The bag of which this binding is a part has held in its time wheat and corn. The paper used is ordinary wrapping paper.”  The book is about 7½ inches by 10 inches and is so intricately printed and bound it is a joy to hold in your hand.

The first poem is titled “Pheasant Cry.  I love it because Bliss tells us what color pheasants are, like no one ever has before. My friend Dan Nelson says, every October, “Let’s go get some of those big red birds.” And we usually do. But Bliss adds a few more colors to his description.

Pheasant Cry

Sun,

Shine on me —

Make me glorious!”

 

Thus spoke

The pheasant,

Walking the rowed wheat

In the morning.

 

North of the way,

A cottonwood;

South of the way,

A willow;

The sun shone upon them all.

 

Said the pheasant:

“Sun,

Shine on me —

Make me glorious!”

 

It was afternoon:

A crag

Of white cumulus

Lay in the north;

Nimbus

Hung in the east;

The south

Was pearl —

The sun shone upon them.

 

The pheasant cried:

“Sun,

Shine on me —

Make me glorious!”

 

All day

The pheasant called

Incessantly.

 

And at evening

The sun

Hearkened to his cry;

And the sun

Bestowed upon him

All his colors:

Pink, violet,

Honey, salmon,

Thistle,

Persian rose,

Copper,

Peach,

Daffodil,

Tangerine,

Citron,

Tile,

Lapis blue,

Wine,

Emerald,

Corn,

Old gold,

Lavender,

Ginger,

Henna,

Sandalwood,

Turquoise,

Sea green,

Fern,

Cinnamon,

Heather,

Wild aster,

Chartreuse,

Carmine,

Lavin red,

Scarlet,

Vermillion,

Purple,

And white.

 

And the sun said:

“From the early

Morning,

When you walked

The rowed wheat,

You have asked

Incessantly…

Henceforth

You shall

Be glorious—

And

A little bit

Ridiculous.”

May 17, 1936

Minnesota-North Dakota border, south of Wahpeton-Breckenridge

Now you know what color a pheasant is. Then read this one, and see if you don’t recognize you and your dog.

 

Just Another Old Dog

Just another old dog with sorrowful eyes,

Peering at me from the rug where he lies;

Watching me always, calm as a sphinx,

With two aging eyes, neither one of which blinks.

 

Knows I’m no company — not for a dog

Dreaming of meadowland, forest and bog;

Dreaming of pheasant, partridge and quail,

And curious things by the aspen-leaved trail.

 

Wond’ring why men stay so long in one place,

Chained to a desk — when there’s plenty of space.

Just a run out of town and the fun might begin —

I know that he reckons such sitting is sin.

 

A law would be passed if dogs had their way —

That men must go out in the open each day —

Out to trees, brushland or prairie remote:

Ah, that would win every honest dog’s vote!

Old fellow, stop looking so sadly at me;

If only you knew it, we agree to a “T.”

 

Come, we’ll just chuck it! These papers are trash —

Let’s go where clean, cool forest streams splash!

There, you old rascal with sorrowful eyes,

That far-a-way look was a crafty disguise.

 

Now you jump up, wiggle tail, wriggle ears,

Shedding like water a half-dozen years.

You’ve waited so long, but you knew you would win;

You scoundrel, I see that you’re hiding a grin!

 

So off we go, leaving no trail, and no track —

I hope they don’t miss us; let’s never come back!

May 19, 1935

Williston, N.D.

To a venerable red-eyed springer spaniel, 11 years old, who keeps faithful and friendly watch.

How many times have you seen an old dog jump up and “shed a half-dozen years?” Yeah, me, too. Isn’t that a marvelous line?

After traveling the back roads of North Dakota for a couple of years, Bliss was convinced by his new North Dakota friends that he must take up hunting as a sport.

And so he did, and he recounts some of the adventures of that first year in a short essay titled “Hunting Begins at 40” in the back of “The Rye is the Sea.”

Interestingly, the account is kind of what you might have read in an old issue of Field and Stream or Outdoor Life of the same period. Yeah, me and Joe did this and this and this. But at the very end, Bliss recounts for us how much money he spent on hunting that year (something I’ve always considered too dangerous to undertake — there are some things you just don’t want to know). Here’s his tally. Check out his note at the end.

LICENSE

Hunting License No. 28634 N.D.                                 $1.50

Federal Duck Stamp                                                          1.00

$2.50

EQUIPMENT

Take-down Repeating Shotgun                                   26.95

Gun Case                                                                           4.95

Box of Shells                                                                     .98
Additional Shells, 3 boxes at 98c                               2.94

Ramrod Set                                                                      .39

Oil Can                                                                              .25

Khaki Hunter’s Coat                                                    3.50

Wading Boots                                                              4.50

Decoy Ducks                                                                2.25

Duck Call                                                                        .65

$47.36

TRAVEL EXPENSE

Oil and Gas                                                              $10.00

Broken Auto Window                                                2.50

$12.50

DOCTOR’S BILLS

Visits and Office Treatments                             $18.00

Medicines                                                                   2.85

$20.85

CAMERA EXPENSE

Films, Developing, Extra Prints                         $5.00

GRAND TOTAL                                             $88.21

            Author’s Note:  From this you will see that it cost me $88.21 for one sharp-tailed grouse, one partridge and one duck. Rather expensive — but I will never forget how yellow the cord grass was on the duck pass, how the reeds waved their plumes and how the dawn turned the ice into pink sherbet.

MICHAEL BOGERT: Photo Gallery — The Great Outdoors

Grand Forks photographer Michael Bogert has been at it again. Check out his latest collection of images of the outdoors, taken the past couple of weeks at various locations in the Red River Valley and Minnesota lake country.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Creamy Chicken And Vegetables

Chicken ala king is one of those dishes that’s not only been a staple of many families over the years but also one that can be made with a variety of ingredients.

As the name implies, chicken is the star of the creamy entree, which also features vegetables. But which ones complement the chicken can vary from recipe to recipe.

Generally, most recipes include mushrooms and bell peppers. But when I set out to make a variation of the dish recently, I had my mind set on using peas and carrots as well as some leftover whole-kernel corn, mainly because my grandson is more fond of that trio than Therese.

After looking at a few ala king recipes, I decided to make up my own, using the three aforementioned veggies as well as some onion and celery and a can of cream of chicken soup.

The main difference in my recipe from others was that I browned flour-dredged meat along with the onion and celery in butter and olive oil instead of using precooked chicken. The flour acted as a thickening agent, so the sauce wasn’t too runny.

Judging from the reaction of my usual dinner companions, the result was fit for “a king.”

Creamy Chicken and Vegetables
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks (can substitute pheasant)
1 10½-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 pint canned carrots or 6 carrots, sliced and cooked
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup water if not using canned carrots
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper
Garlic salt
Saute onion and celery in butter and oil in 2-inch deep cast-iron frying pan. Add chicken (or pheasant) that has been dredged in flour seasoned with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until meat is done then add vegetables, soup, broth, water and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve over mashed potatoes.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Slow Cooker Hunter’s Stew

Hunting season has arrived in the Northland. For many cooks, that means it’s time to start digging through their recipe boxes for some tasty wild game dishes.

Over the years, I’ve listened to some of my readers complain about wild game recipes because they can’t “bear” the thought of eating magnificent Canada geese, which mate for life, or a Bambi, with whom they have a sentimental attachment from their childhood days.

But the thing about most wild game recipes is that the meat from domesticated animals can be substituted very easily without diminishing the entree.

That is the case with the original “Hunter’s Stew” — aka cacciatore — a classic dish that some say originated with pheasant or rabbit as the main ingredient but has become synonymous with chicken.

My following recipe for Hunter’s Stew, which features pheasant, is similar to the classic French entree. And for those who don’t have the stomach for wild game, chicken would work just fine.

Bon appétit!

Slow Cooker Hunter’s Stew
2 to 4 pheasant breasts (can substitute 2 chicken breasts)
8 to 10 small red potatoes, unpeeled
6 to 8 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 1½-ounce can cream of chicken soup
½ to 1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup red wine
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 onion
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with some crusty bread.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Southwestern Pheasant Soup

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard someone say “it tastes just like chicken” when they are describing some other kind of meat. Sometimes, it’s said in jest. But more often, people really mean it.
Pheasant fits into the latter category. And in my opinion, the game bird tastes just as good chicken, maybe even better. I ought to know, since pheasant has been a staple in our household for a long time.
I’ve baked pheasant, smoked pheasant, grilled pheasant, made stroganoff with pheasant, even come up for recipe for barbecued pheasant in pulled pork fashion. It was the barbecued recipe that I recently shared with a friend, Mike Sandry of Grand Forks.
While the baked — with wild rice dressing — and barbecued pheasant are my favorites, a bevy of pheasant soups aren’t far behind.
The following recipe rates near the top of my soup list. It was shared with me by Terry Young of Devils Lake, N.D., who usually brings it along on our annual pheasant hunting trip.
Having just returned from an adventure hunting pheasants in Nebraska, I have a pot of it simmering on the stove on this day of high winds and snow flurries.
And guess what? It’s as soothing — and tasty — as any chicken soup you can find.
Southwestern Pheasant Soup
2 49-ounce cans of Swanson’s Chicken Broth or 6 cups of homemade pheasant broth
1 1-pound bag of Alberto’s medium egg noodles
1 10-ounce can of Rotel Mexican Lime and Cilantro
½ cup salsa
1 14½-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
1 pheasant (breasts and thighs)
6 cups water
Precook pheasant in water. Dice the cooked pheasant meat and brown it in light olive or vegetable oil. Heat broth until it nears boiling. Then add all the other ingredients. Cook on medium until the noodles are soft. Add more broth as needed.
Yield: Serves 4.
Note: Can substitute about 4 cups cubed cooked chicken for pheasant.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken With Tomatoes

Undoubtedly, many gardeners who grow tomatoes have more than they can handle — unless they do some canning.

Even those who put up whole tomatoes, tomato juice, salsa or the like might have their hands full if they were overzealous and plotted too many plants, especially this summer in which there have been ideal growing conditions for those who have kept blight at bay.

So, with that in mind, here’s a recipe that will lessen the burden. It comes from The New York Times’s archives and is authored by the 60 Minute Gourmet himself, the late Pierre Franey.

I was a big fan of Franey’s column while serving as the food copy editor and later food editor at the Grand Forks Herald in the 1990s. Franey, along with the Times’ Craig Claiborne, served up some tasty dishes that eventually found their way to my dining room table. The recipes were easy, quick and inexpensive, all very important to me at the time.

The only improvisation I’ve made to the latest edition of this dish is to substitute pheasant breasts for chicken breasts.

Now, if I could find about a dozen more good tomato recipes. Readers?

Chicken With Tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2¼ pounds
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoon dried
8 ripe plum tomatoes cut into small cubes (or one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, drained and chopped)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup drained capers
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom skillet. Add the chicken breasts and saute over medium-high heat, turning the pieces often until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the shallots and garlic around the chicken. Cook briefly; add the tarragon, tomatoes, vinegar, capers, wine and tomato paste. Stir to dissolve the brown particles adhering to the bottom of the skillet.
Blend well; bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 9 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Cacciatore

If ever there was a dish that hunters should embrace, it’s cacciatore. It means hunter’s style in Italian. (The French call it chasseur, the Spanish cazadores.) The stew, which is usually made with chicken, also includes mushrooms, onions, sometimes sweet bell peppers and an assortment of spices. It is fairly low-cal and quite tasty.

Apparently, the dish originated during the Renaissance period (1450-1600), when the only people who could afford to enjoy wild game and the sport of hunting were the rich, hence the chicken substitute. (I’ve also seen recipes for turkey cacciatore, meatball cacciatore and tofu cacciatore.)

I’ve made cacciatore a few times over the years, often using pheasants that were harvested in western North Dakota. In fact, some of last fall’s bounty is still lurking in my freezer and needs to be eaten up soon, which is why you are reading about it here.

The following cacciatore recipes are a few that I’m considering for a meal later this week. Each of the recipes is a little different. There is one that can be made fairly quickly and easily, and two that require a bit more time.

Regardless, the result will be something I can get my arms around.

Chicken Cacciatore
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs (can substitute pheasant)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, sliced
1 cup green bell pepper, sliced
½ cup celery, sliced
2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Blend
1 14½-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, undrained
½ cup red wine
1 pound spaghetti, cooked, drained
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add in chicken and cook over medium heat on both sides until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Add in onion, green pepper, celery and Mrs. Dash. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes and red wine. Return chicken to skillet and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in middle. Serve over spaghetti.

Chicken Cacciatore
1 pound pasta or egg noodles
4 chicken thighs, with skin (can substitute 8 whole pheasant thighs, with skin)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 red bell peppers, cored, sliced (not too thin)
2 green bell peppers, cored, sliced (not too thin)
5 cloves garlic, diced
12 ounces mushroooms (white or crimini), sliced
½ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Red pepper flakes, crushed, to taste (optional)
¾ cup dry white white
1 28-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes (with juice)
Chopped flat-leaved parsley
Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook! Drain and set aside.
Salt and pepper both sides of the pieces of chicken. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven on the stove top over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin down in pan, 4 pieces at a time. Brown chicken on both sides, then remove to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Pour off half the fat in the pan and discard.
Add sliced onions and peppers, as well as the garlic. Stir around for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir around for 1 minute. Add thyme, turmeric and salt. (And crushed red pepper flakes if you like things a little spicy.) Add extra black pepper to taste. Stir, then pour in wine. Allow to bubble. Pour in canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Add chicken, totally submerging the chicken. Place lid on the pot and put it into the oven for 45 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat to 375 degrees. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven. Remove chicken from the pot and place it on a plate. Remove vegetables from pot and place them on a plate. Return pot to burner and turn heat to medium high. Cook and reduce sauce for a couple of minutes.
Pour cooked, drained noodles on a large platter or in a big serving bowl. Add vegetables all over the top, then place chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. Spoon juices from the pot over the chicken and pasta (amount to taste.)
Before serving, sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.

Chicken Cacciatore
1 whole chicken, with skin, cut into serving pieces (can substitute 2 pheasants)
¼ pound pancetta, or 4 strips bacon
4 tablespoons olive oil (chicken fat)
1 chopped celery stalk
1 chopped carrot
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 onion, sliced into half-moons
1 quart crushed tomatoes
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
4 bay leaves
Dried porcini mushrooms (about a handful)
½ pound cremini or button mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons minced parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If using, cut the pancetta into little batons about ¼-inch thick. In a large braising pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil or chicken fat over medium heat and cook the pancetta or bacon. Remove and reserve.
Add the chicken pieces and brown them well. Take your time and do it in batches. Remove the chicken pieces as they brown.
Add the carrot, celery, onions and the fresh mushrooms and turn the heat up to high. Saute them until the onions are wilted and are beginning to brown. Add more oil if needed. When they begin to brown, add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the herbs, dried mushrooms and the white wine and turn up the heat to maximum. Stir well. Let the wine cook down by half. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Add some salt if needed. Add the bacon and the chicken pieces, skin side up. Do not submerge the chicken, just nestle the pieces into the sauce so the skin stays out of the liquid.
Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Check to see of the meat is thinking about falling off the bone. Sometimes with a young pheasant all it takes is 45 minutes. An hour or more is typical. When the meat is as tender as you want, remove the cover from the pot and cook until the skin crisps, about 30 to 45 more minutes.
Move the chicken pieces to a plate. Add the parsley to the pot and mix to combine.
To serve, ladle some of the sauce out, top with a chicken piece and serve with either polenta or a good crusty bread.
Yield: Serves 4. Recipe can be doubled.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Creamed Chicken

There’s nothing better than some comfort food on a day that’s cold and windy. And today is one of those days! (Well, actually, you could say that about a lot of days if you live in the Northland, especially North Dakota and Minnesota.)

Many dishes fit that bill, but one that does it for me is creamed chicken (in my case, a lot of time pheasant is the star). The dish is warm, filling and satisfying, especially when served over a bed of mashed potatoes. To me, it’s the epitome of comfort food.

Of all the times I’ve made cream of chicken, it’s doubtful any two have been exactly alike. I like to play around with different seasonings and soups.

The following concoction is one I threw together after looking through a few of my treasured, old church cookbooks, taking bits and pieces from three or four of them.

What I’ve come up with is sure to take a bite out of the cold north wind!

Creamed Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
3 cups cooked chicken, cut up (can substitute pheasant)
1 10½ ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 10½ ounce can cream of celery soup
¼ cup half and half
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup frozen peas (optional)
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon thyme
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add chicken, soups, broth, sour cream, half and half, peas and spices. Simmer for ½ hour to ¾ hour. Serve over mashed potatoes.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Fowled-Up Stroganoff

Anyone who hunts and also is handy around the kitchen knows that most of the game that can be taken in the field is interchangeable recipe-wise with meat that is raised domestically.

And those who are familiar with me aren’t too surprised by the number of entrees I’ve prepared over the years that feature wild game. The total probably vastly exceeds any of those that makes use of animals raised on a farm.

That’s not to say we don’t eat some beef, pork or chicken. But when you have a freezer full of game such as elk, venison, pheasant, grouse, partridge and ducks and geese, you don’t find yourself buying a lot of meat from the supermarket.

One of my favorite wild-for-domestic substitutes is pheasant for chicken. I’ve barbecued pheasant, baked it and roasted it. I’ve used pheasant in casseroles, stir-fries and salads.

Perhaps one of my favorite recipes using pheasant as a chicken stand-in is for stroganoff. Originally, I used the recipe for venison and elk stroganoff, the combination of two recipes that looked appealing to me.

Some time later, when looking through one of my many cookbooks, I saw a picture of chicken stroganoff and immediately thought about using the hybrid recipe for pheasant.

And the rest, as they say, is history. It’s been a hit at our house ever since the first time I made it.

Pheasant Stroganoff
1 pound pheasant meat, about ½-inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound mushrooms, washed trimmed and sliced
1 medium onion, minced (about ½ cup)
1 10½ ounce can condensed chicken broth
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons flour, divided
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cooking sherry
3 to 4 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles
Cut meat across the grain into ½-inch strips, about 1½ inches long. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is tender. Add and saute pheasant until cooked through. Add half of the flour, spices and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add soup and half of broth. Stir in ketchup, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Blend reserved broth and flour then stir into meat mixture along with Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in sour cream and sherry, heat through. Serve over noodles.