I would imagine for many it sound horrible to shoot an innocent bird. For me I feel like it helps me to have a deeper respect for my food and where it comes from. That this was a living thing and not some processed piece of meat. In short it deserves respect.
I have to admit I was a complete loss on how to cook the birds. There were a couple of notions of how to go about it but I really wasn't sure. I miss the intuition I once had when I was cooking professional now I feel like I second guess myself a lot. Still I decided to go with my gut and my gut said to marinate them and the slow cook them and that is what I did. I marinated the birds over night in some olive oil, fresh garlic, Dijon mustard, a little soy sauce and some worsteshire sauce. The next day I broke the birds down, seasons them just a little and then floured them and browned them in my le cruset dutch oven. After browning I deglazed the pot with a generous portion of white wine and reduced it down. Then I added in carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaf. I put the birds back in with some homemade chicken stock and simmered them slowly for a couple of hours. After this I let them cool and put the whole thing in the fridge over night. Then next day I removed any fat that had come to the surface and then removed all of the meat from the bone and cut it up. This was a good move I realized later because there were a number of small splintery bones that had I not done this would of made the meat difficult to eat. Removing the meat also allowed me to make sure there was no buck shot (I missed one or two).
In the end I re-heated everything, re-seasoned and ended up with a surprisingly tasty pheasant stew. I took the stew to Thanksgiving and it was one of the highlights of the meal. Everyone kept asking who made it and what was it. I was pretty happy with that.
In the past when I have cooked pheasant at a restaurant it was always the breast meat and you had to be so so careful not to overcook it or it would be so tough. In fact I think it is a rare bird to find on most menus because of this fact. Initially I had hoped to come to the community and get some ideas but the holidays as they always do came upon us so quick and I never found the time. Now I am curious to hear from everyone how do you cook pheasant? I would love to get some tips and ideas. One thought I had about my stew was that had I more time I could of made some dough and covered the stew with pastry and ended up with a really nice pheasant pot pie.
Below are some photos.