Two Reasons Why Spring is Such an Exceptional Season: Wild Turkey and Pheasant Back Risotto

After the doldrums of late-winter—those weeks when the ice has started to thaw on lakes statewide, leaving little opportunity for fishing—spring is a welcomed reprieve from cold days with little sunshine. For us hunters and foragers in particular, spring represents the opportunity to pursue some of the rarest, most-elusive table fare the year will have to offer and serve it up in some classic or new favorite dishes.  Continue reading “Two Reasons Why Spring is Such an Exceptional Season: Wild Turkey and Pheasant Back Risotto”

Make It a Party: Pheasant and Roasted Poblano Tamales (and Don’t Forget the Tequila)

It wouldn’t be Cinco de Mayo without spending a few hours in the kitchen getting a crick in the neck making tamales. While this recipe can require a couple hours of prep work solo, tamale assembly is best enjoyed with a party–that means tequila, cervezas and friends and family. Tamales freeze easily and are readily available later for when hungry relatives arrive throughout the year. Continue reading “Make It a Party: Pheasant and Roasted Poblano Tamales (and Don’t Forget the Tequila)”

Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs

One of my earliest childhood memories is the Kentucky mountainside opposite my great-grandmother’s porch. A steep mosaic of oak and pine, it towered over the one-lane highway hemming its slope, a short walk from Nannie’s front steps. I recall well the intermittent hum of semis at night, the whirring glow of their cab lights like fireflies in our guest bedroom window. In the morning we woke early to the sounds of Nannie working in the kitchen. Smells of frying bacon and chicken roused our noses from sleep, luring our feet, pair by pair, down creaking floorboards. Continue reading “Incorporating My Appalachian Roots: Kentucky-Fried Ruffed Grouse Legs”

Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy

The origin of hunter-style gravy, or “sauce chasseur” as the French call it, remains rather unclear. Seen on modern menus today, the term hunter-style or hunter’s sauce typically refers to a recipe that includes sautéed mushrooms and is made from beef demi-glace. Some sources suggest the sauce got its name from the practice of hunters returning home from a successful hunt and foraging for mushrooms along their route. Other sources speculate instead of wine—a common ingredient in modern hunter-style gravies—hunters employed the blood from their kill in the recipe. I prefer to believe the latter and have sought to create a recipe that aims to celebrate the ritualistic nature of returning home from the woods after a great day bagging grouse. Continue reading “Real Hunters Know Their Gravies: Roasted Grouse with Hunter-Style Gravy”

Quick, Hot, Delish: Pheasant Teriyaki Stir-Fry

Teriyaki, when loosely translated, refers to both the shiny and grilled nature of the dish. The teriyaki method of cooking originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, though, today, variations of the sauce and technique vary throughout the world. Still, most recipes follow the fundamentals: grilled or broiled meat tossed in a sauce reduction of soy sauce, mirin and honey or sugar.         Continue reading “Quick, Hot, Delish: Pheasant Teriyaki Stir-Fry”

Grilled Pheasant on Sticks with Spicy-Peanut Dipping Sauce: Pheasant Satay

Since the pheasant originally hails from the East, it only makes since that its meat both accommodates and accentuates Eastern spices and recipes. The dish satay, though its origin remains unclear, is traditionally believed to have originated in Indonesian or Malaysia as a street vendor adaption of Indian kebabs. Marinated in a mix of special spices and skewered with bamboo sticks then grilled over an open flame, this variation of pheasant makes for quite a treat when you pair it with a Thai peanut sauce made famous by The Elk Public House in Spokane, Washington. Satay can be served over jasmine rice or ketupat (rice dumplings). Feel free to forego the homemade marinade recipe and instead marinate your pheasants strip in your favorite store-bought sauce. However, be certain not to miss out on this great-tasting Thai peanut dipping or drizzle sauce.  Continue reading “Grilled Pheasant on Sticks with Spicy-Peanut Dipping Sauce: Pheasant Satay”

The Airline Cut: Grilled Rosemary Pheasant with Red Curry Sauce

For most wingshooters, when it comes to preparing their birds, there are typically two options: breasts and thighs, or the longer—but also more rewarding—process of plucking the entire fowl. However, a happy medium exists between these two choices, one that saves time but also offers the benefits of bone-in, skin-on pheasant.
 
An airline cut saves skin, resulting in a crispier exterior, while also leaving a drumette attached. While some chefs argue bone-in proteins don’t add extra flavor, I tend to disagree, since I believe innate flavors present in bones seep out into meat during cooking. As well, leaving the drumette attached allows for a more even cook and a juicer piece of pheasant once done grilling.     Continue reading “The Airline Cut: Grilled Rosemary Pheasant with Red Curry Sauce”