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Cooking Meat/pheasant breast

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Question
Keith,
My boyfriend pheasant hunts and has been cleaning and keeping only the breasts from the birds he gets.  I have never cooked pheasant before but, since we have about ten breasts in the freezer now, I'm thinking I should try.  What is the best way to cook them?

Thanks

Answer
Tracie:

Pheasant, like most wild birds, are extremely dry and have little fat.

My suggestion is to try any recipe that would work for chicken breast or turkey breast.

I used to cut pheasant breast up into small pieces, 1/2-1 inch in size and sautee them with butter onions, or leeks, mix a little chicken boullion, white wine and just a touch of sugar with a little corn starch, heat in a pan until it begins to thicken just a bit, then add the meat and onion, you could add some sliced mushrooms too.  Let simmer until thickened, add a bit more corn starch mixed with a little water if it needs more thickening.  I would add a mit more butter too.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve over wild rice.

A couple of things to remember.

Fat makes anything taste more moist.  So when cooking wild pheasant, duck, goose whathaveyou, add butter.  This is why they used to "lard" meat by threading it with pork fat with a larding needle, or placed bacon over it (thats another way you could cook the breasts whole, drape a few slices of bacon over them and bake or roast them, but they will be dry inside), to add fat.

Fat puts our salivary glands into over drive and this makes the otherwise dry meat feel and taste more moist.  Butter does the same thing in a gravey served over the meat or when basted on the meat or in a sauce.

Cook it rare too, that will keep it moist, use a meat thermometer, and cook it till its only 140F inside.  Don't worry, it will be done, but it will also be moist.  Make sure the meat is entirely defrosted and at room temp. If the meat will not cook evenly.

Hope these tips help.  

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Keith Patton

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding wildgame cookery ranging from venison, elk, buffalo, wild geese, duck, wild turtle, feral hog, javalena, wild boar, racoon, beaver, and woodchuck.

Experience

I am an avid hunter and chef. I have run a successful catering business, processing my own meat, curing hams and making wild game sausage.

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