Field-to-Fork Pheasant in a Mushroom Country Gravy
If you aren't familiar with wild game birds, pheasant is definitely worth thinking about in the culinary world. Do you know anyone who hunts? Are you a hunter? If you are a hunter, you already know how incredible pheasant is. If you aren't a hunter, I truly hope you become friends with one to reap the benefits. Now, let's discuss pheasant. The beauty of the physical male pheasant matches the taste. Both are amazing to experience.
I recently joined the hunters in my life on a pheasant hunting trip. I was not the shooter, I was the "flusher", or "pusher", a very important role in the world of pheasant hunting. You see, pheasants are very smart and know how to hide. You could walk right on tip of a pheasant and it could still stay hidden. Most of the time you are walking miles and miles to discover these beautiful birds. And walking does not do it justice. You are walking through acres of corn fields if you are lucky enough to get the approval from our amazing farmers, or, if you are on public land that has the approval. One day of walking tracked me 20,000 steps on my fitbit before we even had breakfast.
In its most basic form, “pushers” walk forward in a line to flush game birds toward groups of shooters (called “blockers” in an American pheasant drive). The shooters are stationed at staggered locations or “pegs” along a line. Pushers often employ white flags, especially on each end of the line, to ensure that game birds flush over the shooters instead of flying out the sides of the line of pushers. I did not have a white flag, we were not that sophisticated.
All of the hard work and dedicated walking makes these birds taste that much better. We do not waste one bit of this sacrificed bird when cooking - that would be a shame. Now, onto cooking pheasant.
Let's talk menu........
Fried Pheasant (Taught to me from my great grandmothers and grandmothers)
Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Mushroom Country Gravy
Mixed Greens with Blueberries; Dried Cherries; Hard Cheddar; and Pecans
Fried Pheasant in Country Mushroom Gravy
This recipe has been handed down from generation to generation. Modifications and improvements have been made and adjusted over the years.
2 whole Pheasant, cut off the bone and/or segmented
½ cup Flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter
¼ cup Finely chopped onion
1 cup Sliced mushrooms
1 can Cream of mushroom Soup
½ cup Sour cream
½ cup Heavy whipping cream
1 cup Whole milk
2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Salt
1 cup Vegetable oil or Crisco, or a combination
In a 12 inch heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) heat the oil to 375
.degrees. Rinse the pheasant and dredge in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake the excess flour off. Test the oil to see that it is at 375 degrees. Fry the pheasant in small batches, careful not to crowd the pan. Fry for approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the cooked pieces of pheasant and place in an oven safe dish. Hold the cooked pieces in a 200 degree oven until all pieces are fried.
Drain most of the oil from the pan and add the butter. Melt the butter and sauté the onions and mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Sprinkle the 2 Tablespoons of flour in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cream of mushroom soup; heavy cream; sour cream; and milk and stir while heating, careful not to burn.
I like to serve the pheasant and the gravy in separate dishes so the pheasant stays nice and crisp. Option two is to pour the gravy over the pheasant and keep in the oven until it is time to serve. Either way, your guests will love you! I serve this with mashed potatoes and a mixed green salad. If you want those recipes, send me an email and I will get them to you. email@example.com