ONLINE EXTRA — BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Herb-Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing . . . Roast of Incredible Game Birds with Proper Polenta . . . Chutney-Glazed Roasted Quail, etc.
By: Herald Staff Reports,
Herb-Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing
½ pound long-grain wild rice
1 quart chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 carrot, diced
¼ onion, diced
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
¼ cup finely diced dried apricot
5 boneless pheasant breasts, tenders removed (see note)
¼ cup olive oil mixed with about a teaspoon each of chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
½ tablespoon salt and pepper mixture
In pot, combine rice and chicken stock; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook according to package directions until rice is soft and most of liquid has been absorbed.
Add carrot, onion, garlic and apricot to rice. Cook until vegetables are soft and all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, about half an hour. Grease ovenproof baking dish and place wild rice mixture in dish. Refrigerate until cold.
In food processor, puree pheasant tenders to a paste consistency to use as a binder for rice mixture.
When rice is cool, add pheasant puree to rice until well mixed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and return to refrigerator until ready to stuff pheasant.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make 5 small football-shaped patties of rice mixture.
Create small pocket in each breast by cutting lengthwise down the side, leaving at least 1 inch uncut on each side and on ends. Gently stuff each breast with a rice patty, being careful not to overstuff. Rub herb/oil mixture on top and bottom of pheasant and season with salt and pepper.
Place pheasant in heavy-gauge roasting pan in preheated oven. Also place in oven the remaining rice in ovenproof dish. Roast 8 to 10 minutes or until desired doneness. (See note.) Remove pheasant from oven, cover with lid or foil and allow to rest 10 minutes. Remove rice from oven. Serve pheasant over sauteed spinach, if desired.
Yield: Serves 5.
Note: Roast pheasant about 20 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees in thickest part of breast. The tenders are a small strip of meat from the thickest part of each breast half.
Roast of Incredible Game Birds with Proper Polenta
1 pheasant, spatchcocked (butterflied), washed and patted dry
1 guinea fowl or 2¼ pounds chicken, spatchcocked, washed and patted dry
1 partridge, washed and patted dry
2 wood pigeons, washed and patted dry
4 quails, washed and patted dry
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon or orange, zested
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 sticks celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Italian sausages
A few fresh bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound polenta
1 wineglass of red wine (recommended: Chianti)
½ cup butter, divided
2 handfuls freshly grated Parmesan
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to about 500 degrees.
Either ask your butcher to spatchcock the guinea fowl or chicken, and the pheasant, or have a go at doing it yourself: Turn the bird upside down and cut underneath the legs with a good pair of scissors. Remove the bony part of the carcass that has no meat on it (bearing in mind that you want to save the incredible meat around the legs) and open the bird out like a book. You can then stuff the cavities of the other birds with flavorings — a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of thyme and a little orange or lemon zest.
Place the onion, celery and carrots in a large roasting pan (or 2 small ones) and lay the sausages and birds on top. Throw in the bay leaves and the rest of the thyme and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and massage it into each bird. Season all the meat generously. Place in the preheated oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Cook for 1 to 1½ hours, turning the birds a few times, until the meat is juicy and cooked through to the bone.
After half an hour, bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil in a nonstick pan and whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat right down, place a lid on so it’s ajar (otherwise the pan might spit hot polenta at you) and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring it as often as you can. If it starts to become too thick, add some more hot water.
Remove the birds from the oven, lift them out of the pan and keep warm. Put the pan on the burner, pour in the wine and simmer gently to make a quick sauce. Then see to the polenta — it’ll need some serious perking up now. Stir in about ¾ of the butter and all the grated Parmesan. Once it’s smooth, taste and season if required. It should now be delicious. Spoon all the polenta onto a big board or platter, spread it out evenly and put to one side to firm up a little.
Give your sauce a stir and add the rest of the butter. Strain it through a sieve into a pan, pressing down hard. Cut the bigger birds into drumstick thighs and breast pieces, and place with all the other birds on top of your polenta. Slice the sausages and add to the pile. Spoon the red wine sauce over the top and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Put the board in the middle of the table and let everyone dive in.
Chutney-Glazed Roasted Quail
4 quail, about 5 ounces each
4 sprigs thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup cranberry chutney or other chutney
Juice of 1 orange
½ teaspoon curry powder
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Insert thyme sprigs in body cavities season birds inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Place the birds in a small roasting pan or casserole dish.
Combine the chutney, juice and curry powder in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100 percent power), stirring occasionally, until reduced to a light syrup, about 4 minutes. Spoon syrup over the quail.
Roast quail, turning and basting twice with glaze and any pan juices, until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 490 calories, 49 percent of calories from fat, 26 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 165 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 43 grams protein, 414 milligrams sodium, 1 grams fiber.
Marinated Dove Breasts
¾ cup lemon juice
¾ cup soy sauce
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
12 dove breasts
Make marinade by mixing first 7 ingredients. Place dove breasts in large nonreactive pan (not aluminum or cast iron); add marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare grill and let coals burn down for about 30 minutes, to medium heat. Remove doves from marinade. Place on grill and baste with marinade. Grill, turning once and basting again with marinade, for a total of 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how hot your coals are, the size of the breasts and how you like your game cooked (if you have a meat thermometer, 125 degrees is medium-rare). You want them tender but not dry; watch carefully to make sure they don’t overcook.
Yield: Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 254 calories, 8 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 97 milligrams cholesterol, 706 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 31 percent of calories from fat.
6 dove breasts, deboned and halved
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup sherry
2 cans button mushrooms
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
Season breast halves with salt and pepper. Melt butter in an iron skillet and brown breast halves over medium-high heat. Remove dove breast halves to a baking dish that will hold them snugly but without crowding.
Add flour to butter in skillet, stirring well. Cook, stirring, until slightly browned. Slowly stir in chicken broth and then sherry. Blend well and pour over breasts. Add mushrooms and parsley. Cover baking dish with a lid or foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with wild rice and a tossed salad.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 695 calories, 41 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrates, 46 grams protein, 191 milligrams cholesterol, 1,218 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 59 percent of calories from fat.
Slow-Roasted Duck with Figs and Balsamic Vinegar
2 5-pound ducks, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup pecans
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, more or less if needed
12 to 18 ripe figs
2 handfuls arugula
Aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Season ducks with salt and pepper. Set ducks in large roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and loosely cover the pan with foil. Roast the ducks for about 4½ hours.
Meanwhile, lightly toast pecans and mince the garlic. Put pecans in a food processor and add garlic, salt, and enough extra virgin olive oil to make it a consistency that will drizzle (this mixture is called an aillade). Cut the figs in half lengthwise.
Remove ducks from oven and cut in half, removing backbone. Separate the breast from the leg/thigh piece. Arrange duck, arugula and figs onto four plates. Drizzle with pecan aillade and balsamic vinegar.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving (without duck fat: 531 calories, 43 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates.
Quail Salad with Roasted Fig Vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon port or other sweet wine (optional)
1 tablespoon plus ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for cooking)
Bitter greens (2 to 3 heads curly endive works well)
1 large or 2 medium shallots
Season the quail generously with salt and pepper. This can be done a few hours in advance. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the stems from the figs and cut the figs in half lengthwise. Arrange in a shallow baking dish, cut side up. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon red wine, the port (if using), 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper. Bake until soft and juicy, about 25 minutes.
Cut, wash and dry bitter greens. If using curly endive, remove the tough green leaves. Cut the root ends off and separate the leaves. Wash and dry well.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the quail, starting them breast-side down (Do this in batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan.) Brown the quail well on both sides of the breast before turning. Turn and brown the other side. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. When done, the breast should be springy to the touch and the juices should run clear when a thigh is pierced with a sharp knife. Let the quail rest for 7 minutes or so in a warm place.
Meanwhile, let the pan cool a bit and add the shallots. Cook a minute or two and add the ¼ cup red wine, bring to boil and reduce by half. Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of each vinegar, scraping up all the brown bits. Pour in salad bowl, add 8 of the roasted fig halves and any roasting juices, and mash with a whisk. Whisk in ½ cup olive oil. Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar as needed. Reserve a third of the vinaigrette to use as garnish later.
Divide the quail into quarters with a sharp knife: cut each in half down the back and separate the legs from the breast. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette and arrange on a platter. Place the warm quail pieces on top of the salad and garnish with the warm roasted figs. Drizzle over remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 789 calories, 36 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams fat, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 121 milligrams sodium, 11 grams fiber. 59 percent of calories from fat.
Pheasant over Fettuccine with Basil Cream Sauce
Boneless breasts from 2 pheasants
2 tablespoons butter
1 package spinach and egg fettuccine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
½ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup white wine
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup minced fresh basil, or 2 tablespoons dried
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt to taste
Place all ingredients for marinade in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour liquid into bag with breasts. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Melt butter in a large pan. Take pheasant out of marinade and put in pan. Saute over medium-high heat until pheasant is done, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a separate pot, cook spinach and egg fettucine according to instructions.
Remove pheasant from pan. Pour out fat and add wine. Scrape bottom of pan until the brown bits dissolve. Strain marinade into pan. Increase heat and reduce liquid in pan by half. Add cream, basil, nutmeg and salt. Stir for a minute, then remove from heat. Pour sauce over pheasant and pasta.
Yield: Serves 4.
Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Scant ¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup dry red wine
1½ to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cups Bing cherries, quartered, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or chives
½ cup golden raisins
10 6-ounce boneless duck breasts with skin
2 tablespoons water
Chutney and glaze
In a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, garlic, and shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, black pepper, cumin, hot pepper flakes and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine, vinegar to taste, and sugar and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, 1½ cups cherries and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and simmer 1 minute. Allow to cool slightly and reserve all but 1/4 cup of the mix to the side. Place ¼ cup mix in a blender and puree until very smooth, about 1 minute (use caution when blending hot liquids). Reserve for glazing duck.
To finish the chutney, add the remaining 1½ cups of cherries, tarragon or chives and all the golden raisins. The chutney can be prepared one day ahead.
To prepare the duck, put the oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Score duck skin in a crosshatch pattern with a small sharp knife and season duck all over with salt and pepper.
In a 12-inch heavy skillet, heat the water on low heat until hot, then add duck, skin side down. Cook duck, uncovered, over low heat, without turning, until most of fat is rendered and skin is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer duck to a plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Brush duck all over with cherry glaze and return to skillet, skin side up.
Roast duck in oven until thermometer registers 135 degrees, about 8 minutes for medium-rare.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, cut duck into slices. Serve with cherry chutney.
Yield: Serves: 10.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 289 calories, 28 percent of calories from fat, 9 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 17 grams carbohydrates, 35 grams protein, 282 milligrams sodium, 131 milligrams cholesterol, 23 milligrams calcium, 2 grams fiber.
Brined Roasted Pheasant
1 whole pheasant (2½ to 3 pounds), thawed (giblets reserved for another use)
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 gallon water
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole dried juniper berries 1 whole star anise
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole coriander
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Rind of ½ orange
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ medium onion, peeled
In large pot, bring salt and sugar to a boil in a gallon of water so that they dissolve. Add black pepper, juniper berries, star anise, cloves and coriander and return to a simmer until fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let mixture cool, then chill it. Once the water is cold, submerge the pheasant in the brine overnight in refrigerator, 8 to 12 hours.
Remove bird from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels, then let it air-dry on a cookie sheet or plate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Rub vegetable oil onto pheasant’s skin. Stuff orange rind, garlic and onion into bird’s cavity. Place pheasant on rack in roasting pan and roast in preheated oven 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting 45 minutes to an hour, until tender.
Yield: Serves 2 to 3.
Pheasant with Brandy
6 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
3 cups seasoned croutons
½ teaspoon dried chervil
½ teaspoon ground dried marjoram
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper ½ cup orange juice (from frozen concentrate)
½ cup red wine
6 tablespoons brandy (divided)
2 whole (2½ to 3 pounds each) pheasants
6 strips bacon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees or start fire under rotisserie.
In bow, combine mushrooms, croutons, chervil, marjoram, salt and pepper. Moisten with orange juice, wine and 2 tablespoons of the brandy. Stir well and let sit until croutons absorb liquid.
Stuff birds with crouton mixture, then lay 3 strips bacon across breast of each bird. Tie in place with kitchen string. Secure on rotisserie, or place in preheated oven in 13-by-9-inch baking pan or roasting pan. Roast uncovered until done (160 degrees at leg/thigh joint), about 45 minutes per pound of raw bird, basting every half-hour or so to add moisture to meat. Oven times may vary, so check with an accurate thermometer whenever you baste the bird.
Remove pheasant from oven and let rest, covered with foil, while warming 4 tablespoons brandy in small saucepan. Ignite brandy and very carefully pour flaming brandy over birds.
Yield: Serves 4.
Herb-Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing
1 pound long grain wild rice
2 quarts chicken stock or canned chicken broth
½ onion, peeled, diced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
½ cup dried apricot, cut into a small dice
10 pheasant breast, boneless; remove tenders and reserve for stuffing;
½ cup olive oil with chopped rosemary, thyme and sage
1 tablespoon mixture of salt and pepper mix
In a large heavy pot, boil the rice with the chicken stock, cook until soft and most of the liquid is gone, about 45 minutes.
Add the onion, carrots, garlic and apricot. Cook until the vegetables are soft and all liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Refrigerate rice mixture until cold.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree pheasant tenders to a paste consistency to use as a binder for rice mix.
When rice is cool, add the pheasant puree to the rice until well mixed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and return to refrigerator until ready to stuff.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make 10 small patties of the rice mix; cut a pocket and stuff mix inside pheasant, being careful not to overstuff . Rub herb/oil mixture on top and bottom of the pheasant, season with salt and pepper. Place the pheasant on a heavy gauge roasting pan and then in a preheated oven for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with lid or foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve over saute of spinach.
Yield: Serves 10.
Cook’s note: Chicken may be substituted for the pheasant.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 489 calories, 25 percent of calories from fat, 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 45 grams carbohydrates, 45 grams protein, 1,157 milligrams sodium, 87 milligrams cholesterol, 20 milligrams calcium, 4 grams fiber.
Duck Breasts with Ginger Plum Sauce
2 duck breasts
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 piece (1-inch) ginger root, peeled, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine or rice wine or chicken broth
2 ripe red plums, pitted, diced
Score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern with a knife. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat; add duck, skin side down. Cook until skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn duck; reduce heat to medium. Cook to desired doneness, or about 5 minutes for medium-rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest.
Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add ginger and shallot; cook stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add plums; cook to blend flavors, 1 to 2 minutes. Slice duck thinly on the diagonal; transfer to plates. Top with plum sauce.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutrition analysis per serving: 145 calories, 42 percent of calories from fat, 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 82 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 342 milligrams sodium, 1 grams fiber.
Pheasant in Mushroom Gravy
2 pheasant breasts, de-boned (makes about eight pieces)
½ cup flour
¼ cup vegetable oil
Salt, pepper, garlic/pepper
1 4-ounce can pieces/stems mushrooms
1 14-ounce can Swanson’s Chicken Broth
1 package Astor Chicken Gravy Mix
Heat vegetable oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add onion, finely chopped, and simmer. Season pheasant with salt, pepper and garlic/pepper, then roll in flour and fry until brown. Add mushrooms, reduce heat and simmer. In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth, chicken gravy mix and small amount of flour. Heat to a boil. Pour gravy mix over pheasant and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over whipped potatoes or a bed of rice.
Note: In the absence of pheasant breasts, substitute quail or dove breasts for same results.
Ducks in Orange Sauce
8 to 10 whole ducks
2 cans frozen orange juice
3 whole oranges
Flour and cornstarch
1 package lean bacon
2 packages powdered turkey gravy mix
2 cups white or red wine
In a large saucepan, mix orange juice, wine and gravy powder and simmer. Use flour or cornstarch to thicken gravy. Stuff each duck with onion and orange quarters. Place ducks breast-down in a turkey roaster and pour orange sauce over them. Cover with two to three strips of bacon. Cook covered at 350 degrees for three hours or until tender.
Quail and Gravy
8 to 10 fresh quail
1 ham steak
Flour, pepper, salt
3 cans cream of chicken soup
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
2 jars sliced mushrooms
1 cup Southern wine or cooking sherry
2 cups green grapes
Salt, pepper and lightly flour quail and fry in a small amount of cooking oil until light brown. Cut ham steak into dice-sized cubes and fry in a black skillet. Mix all soups, wine, mushrooms, grapes and ham cubes in a large pot and simmer until melted. Pour over the quail in a deep oven pot and cook at 350 degrees for three hours or until tender.
Skewers of Quail Wrapped in Italian Bacon
16 slices Italian bacon (pancetta)
4 teaspoons butter
1 cup white wine
Balsamic reduction (boil balsamic vinegar over low flame until reduced to syrup)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Remove thighs of the quail and divide the breast into two parts, so that you have 4 parts for each quail.
Wrap each piece of quail in a slice of Italian bacon. Prepare each skewer with one thigh and one breast of quail.
Brown the skewers in pan with butter, adding white wine. Add balsamic reduction and cook for a few minutes, keeping the meat a bit red.
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
Yield: Serves 4
Approximate nutrition analysis per quail: 389 calories, 66 percent of calories from fat, 28.6 grams fat (10.8 grams saturated), 29 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, 0.11 grams fiber, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 820 milligrams sodium, 21 milligrams calcium 21 milligrams.