I developed this recipe using various ingredients that I happened to have on hand at the time. It has gone through several revisions. It yields the most tender pheasant (or partridge) I have ever tasted.
- 1 whole pheasant, cleaned (skinned gutted and washed)
- 1 cup chopped button mushroom (substitute 1/2 cup rehydrated and chopped morels, if you are lucky enough to have some)
- 3⁄4 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup cream sherry
- 1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream (plus extra, see below)
- 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
Wet bath (beat together in a large bowl)
- 2 eggs
- 1⁄8 cup cream
Dry dredge (mix thoroughly in another large bowl)
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1⁄2-1 lb dry orzo pasta
- your favorite pasta
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
- 1. Quarter pheasant using a heavy knife: cut through back just ahead of the thighs. Split thighs along one side of the backbone. Carefully cut back from the wings and breast and discard. Find the keelbone at the center of the breast. Place knife flush along one side of the keelbone and spit breast lengthwise. For partridge, follow same procedure, but use two birds and leave breasts whole.
- 2. Dredge poultry pieces in dry mix, then the wet bath, then dry mix again. Place breaded pieces on a large plate.
- 3. Heat 3 tbsp butter in a large skillet (preferably cast iron), over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add poultry pieces. Cook bone side up for 5 minutes, covering pan with a tight lid (glass is best). Avoid searing breading. Add mushrooms and onion, rotate poultry with tongs, and continue to brown the bone side for 5 min, covered. Add sherry, return lid.
- 4. Reduce heat to simmer for 25-30 minutes, covered. Deeply prick a thick piece of meat to test doneness. If juice runs clear, it is done. During this time, add chicken broth sparingly if neccessary to keep bottom of pan from drying out. By the end of the 25 minutes, liquid should be almost completely dissipated.
- 5. While poultry is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with pine nuts and a pat of butter.
- 6. Remove cover, stirring cream gently into pan. Allow to re-heat slowly, removing from heat when cream is hot. Serve over pasta.
- 7. Remember, watch out for shot in your meat!