CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time – Pheasant Under (Crock-Pot) Glass

Pheasant hunting season in the Northland has been over about three weeks, a little longer in some places. But on a day like Friday, with temperatures in the low to mid-40s, what I would like do is go out in the field to chase some roosters with my dog, Sweetie.

Bacon-Wrapped Pheasant
Bacon-Wrapped Pheasant

Since that isn’t possible, unless I head to Nebraska to hunt with my friend, Howard Hardy, my only option is to eat pheasant. (In Nebraska, the season runs until the end of January.)

Another old friend, Jim Pender, of rural East Grand Forks, Minn., recently asked me for some cooking advice for preparing pheasant that brought to mind a recipe I haven’t fixed in several years.

The first time I had Crock-Pot Pheasant was on a hunting trip to eastern Montana with Jim Fasbender of Grand Forks, N.D., his brother, John, nephew David, and brother-in-law Shawn Coonrod, all of Hastings, Minn.

We prepared the dish the night before, kept it cold overnight and the slow-cooked it the next day. It provided a fitting end to a day in which we picked up our limit of pheasants and a few sharp-tailed grouse to boot.

Wild rice, onions and cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic perfectly complemented the pheasant, spiced up with salt, pepper and a little Louisiana Cajun Seasoning.

This is just one of the many ways to cook wild pheasant, probably the tastiest wild fowl next to ruffed grouse. And for those who don’t have access to upland birds, chicken can be substituted. (For those of you who are health-conscious, wild pheasant contains considerably less fat than beef, pork or chicken.)

Though too numerous to list them all, a couple of other methods to prepare pheasant that come to mind are oven-roasted, grilled or stir-fried.  Here is the recipe for the Crock-Pot Pheasant, along with two other favorites of mine.

Crock-Pot Pheasant
4 deboned pheasant breasts
4 pheasant legs and thighs
2 10-ounce cans cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 onion, diced
2 cups milk or half-and-half
2 cups water
1 cup wild rice
2 teaspoons Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut up 2 pheasants, deboning breasts and separating whole legs and thighs from backbone.
Mix with remaining ingredients in a Crock-Pot and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high heat or 5 to 6 hours on low heat.
Yield: Serves 5.

Oven-Baked Pheasant
4 deboned pheasant breasts
4 pheasant
legs and thighs (unseparated)
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon wild game seasoning or poultry seasoning
Olive oil
½ pint half-and-half (can substitute low-fat or skim milk)
1 cup cooking wine
1 cup chicken or pheasant broth
Heat oil in deep cast iron frying pan. Mix dry ingredients in a plastic bag. Roll breasts and legs and thighs in flour mixture and brown on both sides in frying pan. Place browned breasts in roasting pan atop a bed of mushrooms, onions, garlic and celery. Add broth, half-and-half and wine. Place in oven and cook for 2 hours at 350 degrees.

Bacon-Wrapped Pheasant
1 cup of teriyaki
1/3 cup of orange juice
1/3 cup of honey
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 tablespoons rosemary
Combine all ingredients and place deboned pheasant breast and intact legs and thighs in mixture. Refrigerate overnight, turning meat over at least once.
The next day, make a slit in the breast meat and stuff with a clove of garlic and a piece of onion. Then wrap each piece of meat in a slice of bacon. Place on the grill and cook for no more than 5 minutes on each side, though time may vary depending on the coals.

One thought on “CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time – Pheasant Under (Crock-Pot) Glass”

  • Howard Hardy January 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Dang, and here I thought all of my years that new writers simply made up names and events. Come on down. We are still killing roosters. 7 days left. Gonna try the crock pot recipe soon.


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