Slow- Roasted Pheasant
with Herb Gravy
8 whole Pheasants, well rinsed and picked over
2 Cups Soy Sauce
Flour for dusting
7 slices Bacon, halved
2 Onions, finely diced
2 stalks Celery, diced
1 Tablespoon dried Rosemary, crushed
2 teaspoons dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 12-oz. Beer or Chicken Broth
3 Cups Chicken broth
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Butter
3 Cups strained Pheasant Broth, from the pan
1 Cup Half-and-Half or Whole Milk
1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried Rosemary, crushed
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
The Night Before:
Rinse and pick over your Pheasants, place in a large container or zip-top plastic bags and pour Soy Sauce over birds. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The Day Of:
Drain off Soy Sauce and discard; place the Pheasants in an electric roaster oven pan (because most likely you won't have a pan for your oven large enough, and if you're like me, you won't want your oven running all day. But I digress.), and dust with Flour; sprinkle with Salt and Black Pepper.
In a large skillet, fry Bacon until most fat is rendered off; remove Bacon from pan and drain off all but 1 Tablespoon grease. Add Onions and Celery, cook until Onions are softened. Stir in Rosemary, Thyme, Ginger, and Beer, cooking until alcohol has evaporated. Spoon over the Pheasant in the roasting pan, place Bacon over the birds and gently pour Chicken Broth around the birds. Cook at 250* for 6 to 7 hours, until Pheasants are very very tender and meat is falling off the bones. Serve with gravy over a double recipe of Rice Pilaf. Serves 8-10, depending on the size of your Pheasants.
For the Gravy:
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium/medium-high heat, melt the Butter and stir in the Flour until smooth. Slowly stir in the Pheasant broth, cooking until thickened, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in Half-and-Half and herbs. Season to taste with Salt and Black Pepper. Serve over Pheasant.
"Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children;
And walk in love,
as Christ also hath loved us,
and hath given Himself for us
an offering and a sacrafice to God
for a sweet-smelling savor."
Ephesians 5:1 & 2
For the past several years the men in T's family have went Pheasant Hunting three hours north of here. Sporting Games on Friday, a Hunt (with dogs!) on Saturday. One must be 12 years old to go along and J & D finally have hit this milestone! They have faithfully and diligently saved each penny, they have taken their Hunter's Safety Class, they have practiced and practiced their hunting skills, they have dreamed of and longed for this day.
And now the Hunt is over. It was a success!
And I have 12 Pheasant in my freezer.
Plus the Pheasant from last year.
Because the birds from the year before that turned out dry and tough and worthless. And I really didn't care to repeat the experience this past year.
But honestly, how can a Mom tell her hunters that she really, really doesn't want to fix their game? She can't. So I scoured the internet for recipes and found this one. And it turned out really good!
It seems that Pheasant (especially *wild* Pheasant) really are much happier when cooked for a long time over low heat. Well, maybe the Pheasant aren't happier, but those dining on them are. It also seems that Pheasant really isn't prepared much here in the States, for most all the recipes I found were from the UK. But maybe I just live in the wrong part of the country, or even the wrong era: My Grandpa and Grandma J tell me that back in the 1940's and 1950's when they lived in Kansas, many Pheasant Hunting parties were organized for Ohio-ans who would come out just for the opportunity to hunt Pheasant. Grandma says she fixed a lot of Pheasant, but she doesn't remember how she cooked it. I think this recipe would also be fantastic with Cornish Game Hens, Squab, or Turkey. Or even Chicken halves, for that matter.
And when I get the photos of the Hunt transferred from the phone to the computer, I'll add them.
Adapted from the UK edition of Good Housekeeping.