Pheasant with Prince of Wales Sauce

I am from a long line of pheasant hunters. The men in my family have hunted pheasants for generations. My grandfather could prepare pheasant more ways than I can count.

 

After finally convincing Keith to bring back whole birds, and gathering all of the necessary supplies, I finally was able to do my own very traditional twist on pheasant. It is quite a delicacy! –Keely

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Ingredients

Veal Stock 

  • Glace de Veau reduced veal stock

Thyme Butter

  • 3-4 TBS minced fresh thyme
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature

Port Wine Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups Port wine
  • 1 tsp minced shallots
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • zest of one orange
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS arrowroot

Pheasants

  • 3-5 whole pheasants, cleaned
  • pork caul or bacon, enough to wrap bbirds
  • 1 cup flour

Prince of Wales Sauce

  • 2 TBS butter
  • mini bottle of champagne (or a generous wine glass full)

Instructions

Prepare Veal Stock

Prepare Glace de Veau reduced stock as follows: pour 4 cups of boiling water over reduced stock and whisk until dissolved.

 

Prepare Thyme Butter

Combine thyme and butter.

 

Prepare Port Wine Sauce

Combine port wine, shallots, thyme, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Over high heat, reduce to half. Dissolve arrowroot into 1 cup of prepared veal stock, then add to the port wine mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

 

Prepare Pheasants

Preheat oven to 425º. Sprinkle the inside and out of each bird with salt and pepper. Rub half of thyme butter over skin of each bird. Apply pork caul or bacon, wrapping it gently around each bird and securing it to a leg or wing. If you don’t have pork caul, you can wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpicks.

 

Place pheasants on a roasting pan with rack, breast down. Add remaining veal stock to the bottom of the pan. Remove upper rack from oven, and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Turn pheasants and spread remaining thyme butter over the breasts. Lower heat to 375º. Bake for approximately 20 more minutes, basting occasionally.

 

While pheasants are baking, prepare seasoned flour (add approx. ½ tsp each of salt & pepper to 1 cup flour). Dust breasts lightly with seasoned flour. If you used bacon instead of pork caul, remove it before dusting with the flour. Bake for 10 more minutes, remove from oven and place on platter. Cover with foil to keep warm while you prepare the Prince of Wales Sauce.

 

Prepare the Prince of Wales Sauce

Skim as much fat as possible from the pan juices, place in heavy bottomed sauce pan, then add butter and champagne. Boil on medium-high heat until significantly reduced (you’ll have about 1/2 inch left in the pan). Add Port Wine Sauce, bring to a boil and reduce slightly.

 

Pour over pheasants and serve promptly. Don’t forget to put the little paper frills on the feet!

Tips

If using wild pheasants, de-feather and clean. Make sure to remove any stray bullet shells. Pro tip: have your hunter do this part for you!