CIDER BRAISED PHEASANT WITH SAUSAGE, APPLES AND ONIONS

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Tart sweet apples, earthy onions and rich sausage complement pheasant's mild, gamey flavor. For the most succulent meat, use thighs and legs only (and pan-sear the breasts for another meal, see recipe at right). Or, if using the entire bird, remove the breast meat halfway through cooking. Serve over wild rice or mashed root vegetables.

• 1/2 c. flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 2 pheasants, about 2 to 3 lb. each, cut into pieces (brined if desired, see Note above)

• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or unsalted butter, divided

• 1 lb. fresh sausages (bratwurst, Italian or Polish), sliced into 2-in. rounds

• 2 medium onions, chopped

• 1 c. chicken stock

• 1 c. fresh cider

•1/2 c. Calvados, brandy or applejack

• 1 large sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp. fresh

• 2 large tart apples, cored and cut into chunks

• Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dredge the pheasant pieces in the seasoned flour and set aside. In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter over medium, and cook the sausages until no longer pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Working in batches, brown the pheasant well on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes a side. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil or butter to the pan, more if needed, and sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 minutes or so. Pour the chicken stock and cider into the pan and stir to scrape up any of the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil for about 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Add the Calvados, brandy or applejack, then return the sausage and pheasant to the pot along with the thyme. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender when poked with a fork. The breast pieces will be done before the legs and thighs, after about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the breast pieces to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the apples to the pot. The thighs will be tender when poked with a knife or fork; an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Return the breast meat to the pot and serve on a bed of wild rice or broad noodles with crusty bread. Garnish with parsley.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 895 Fat 50 g

Sodium 815 mg Saturated fat 16 g

Carbohydrates 33 g Calcium 61 mg

Protein 74 g Cholesterol 220 mg

Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 1 other carb, 7 lean meat, 1 1/2 high-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat.

 

PAN-SEARED PHEASANT BREAST WITH WHITE WINE SAUCE

Serves 4.

Note: Here's a quick recipe for breast meat if you choose to save the dark meat parts for another meal. Use a good white wine for the sauce (something not too dry, that you'd enjoy drinking with the meal). Serve over wild or brown rice.

• 2 pheasant breasts

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 large shallot, minced

• 1 c. white wine

• 1 c. low-sodium chicken stock

• 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp. dried

• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

• 1 tbsp. cold butter

Directions

Place the pheasant breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound flat with a wooden mallet. Sprinkle the breasts with a little salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a large skillet and sauté the breasts, until the juices run clear, about 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add the minced shallot to the pan and sauté until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the wine, stock, fresh or dried rosemary and the chopped parsley. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half and is thick and shiny, about 5 to 10 minutes. Swirl in the cold butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice and serve pheasant breasts over wild or brown rice and drizzle the sauce over all. Garnish with additional fresh parsley as desired.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 292 Fat 17 g

Sodium 90 mg Saturated fat 8 g

Carbohydrates 4 g Calcium 24 mg

Protein 22 g Cholesterol 79 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 1/2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat.

 

HONEY-SOY ROAST QUAIL

Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer.

Note: Salty and sweet, these little birds are finger-licking good. They make a wonderful appetizer and are terrific served as an entree over wild rice or buckwheat pasta. Watch that they don't overcook.

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 8 quail

• 1/3 c. honey

• 1/4 c. soy sauce

• 2 tbsp. rice wine or white wine vinegar

• 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Directions

Lightly salt and pepper the quail inside and out. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic; marinate the quail in the honey mixture, cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Drain the quail, reserving the marinade. Place them on a rack in roasting pan. Fold the wingtips under the quail. Roast for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and baste with the marinade. Continue roasting, basting once or twice, until the juices from the thigh are slightly pink when the skin is pierced, about 10 minutes more. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving of 8:

Calories 208 Fat 9 g

Sodium 260 mg Saturated fat 3 g

Carbohydrates 7 g Calcium 17 mg

Protein 25 g Cholesterol 0 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 other carb, 3 1/2 lean meat.

 

 

VINCENT'S ROASTED STUFFED QUAIL

Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer.

Note: Boning out the backbone and ribcages of these little birds can be tricky but makes for a beautiful presentation that's easier to eat. You may also choose to stuff them as they are and roast any leftover stuffing in a separate pan alongside the birds. From Vincent Francoual.

• 8 quail, deboned if possible

•1/2 c. Port wine

• 1 tbsp. dried porcini mushrooms

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 lb. portabella mushrooms, sliced, discarding any stem

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

• 2 eggs

• 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

• 2 tbsp. toasted, sliced almonds

Directions

Rinse the birds inside and out and pat dry.

In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring wine and dried porcini to a boil, turn off the heat, and let it steep for about 15 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and cook the portabella mushrooms, onion and garlic for about 8 minutes. Add the wine and porcini, and reduce until the mixture is thick and syrupy. Turn this into a bowl and add the eggs, bread crumbs and almonds with a little salt and pepper.

Stuff the quail, using toothpicks to secure the legs in front of the cavity. Turn any leftover stuffing into a heavily buttered casserole dish and cover with buttered aluminum foil. Roast the quail and stuffing in a preheated 375-degree oven until the thigh juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with additional stuffing alongside.

Nutrition information per serving of 8:

Calories 280 Fat 14 g Sodium 88 mg Saturated fat 4 g

Carbohydrates 9 g Calcium 38 mg

Protein 29 g Cholesterol 114 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 1/2 fat.