Pheasant raised without antibiotics or hormones on small farms allows the birds free-flight, natural behaviors and the ability to forage in tall grasses to supplement their grain diet. The pheasant here is the ring-necked breed, less common than the more widely farmed Milan-white breed. Pheasant is a very popular game bird, with lean and flavorful meat. I 1st dined on it at the Forum of the Twelve Caesar’s in NYC.
This recipe for whole roast pheasant with herbs makes a delightful, elegant meal for 2 and is easy.
- 1 ring neck pheasant
- ¼ bunch of rosemary, divided use
- ¼ bunch of sage, divided use
- ¼ lb white truffle butter, melted
- 1 bunch of escarole
- 10 Cipollini onions, peeled
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup white wine, or vermouth
- 1 cup duck and veal demi-glace
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Pick all the herbs so that they are individual leaves, discard stems. Separate 1/2 of the herbs, chop finely and set aside.
- Using your index finger, carefully separate the pheasant skin from the breasts and thighs, being careful not to tear the skin. Piece by piece, place the whole leaf herbs evenly underneath the skin.
- Rub the softened truffle butter over the bird so that it forms a shell on the outside. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Place the bird in a pan on top of the peeled cippolini onions and roast in the oven for 10 mins at 400 degrees, then lower the oven to 350 degrees for an additional 30 mins. While the bird is roasting, sauté the escarole with the garlic and season with salt and pepper. You might need to add a little water to make sure the escarole is soft.
- Deglaze the roasting pan with the white wine or vermouth, then add the demi-glace. Reduce by half and strain, then stir in the minced herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Tip: Serve this dish with a side of sweet potato puree. To plate, place a dollop of the sweet potato puree just above the center of each warmed plate, then add the escarole beside it. Slice the meat off the breast of the pheasant in 3 lengthwise slices for each breast and remove the thighs. Place a thigh on each plate, then layer the sliced breast meat on top. Finish with a generous drizzle of sauce and serve with chilled white wine.
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