Pheasants Forever

The wily ringneck is one of the most versatile game birds around when it comes to cooking.
And because of that, I’ll never get tired of eating pheasant.

And if a recent hunting trip to western North Dakota is any indication, I’ll be dining on the bird several times this winter.

My favorite way to fix pheasant is baked with wild rice (recipe follows). It’s one of my specialties.

 However, there are several other ways I like to use pheasants. The leg and thigh meat are excellent in a homemade barbecue sauce, and I would be at a loss without the great broth that comes as the result of cooking the backbones and necks of the bird. I use it in soups and other dishes that call for chicken broth.

And I can’t forget about the grilling aspect. There is nothing like grilled pheasant that’s been marinated in a teriyaki, honey and orange juice mixture, spiced up with a little onion, garlic and rosemary.

I just hope when old age sets in and hunting no longer is an option, my friends will remember me after a successful hunt.

Baked Pheasant
6 to 8 deboned pheasant breasts
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups wild rice
1 10½-ounce can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 cup red wine
½ cup cooking sherry
½ pint half and half
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon Louisiana Cajun seasoning
½ cup olive oil
1 cup water
Mix the flour, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and Louisiana Cajun spice in a bowl. Roll Pheasant breasts in flour mixture and brown in olive oil.
Mix the onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and wild rice with red wine, soup and water in a large roasting pan. When you are finished browning the breasts, place them atop the wild rice mixture. Deglaze the frying pan with the cooking sherry and pour over the pheasants. Cover with cream.
Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours or until done. If rice mixture gets a little dry, occasionally add some water. Serve with a vegetable and salad.