Braised Pheasant Thighs with John Wallace
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How many bird hunters, waterfowlers, turkey hunters in general, do you know that just “breast them out”? Maybe you are one of them. Well, this recipe will definitely change a hunter’s desire. It’s a simple recipe and utilizes more of the birds you bag each year. We as hunters need to do a better job of utilizing the game we harvest. Respecting the animal, by using as much as possible, when possible. I’m not saying you always need to keep legs and thighs, hearts, livers, and even gizzards of every single bird, however, making a conscious effort will make you a better conservationist, hunter, and likely give you something more to eat than just bacon wrapped *insert game bird of choice here*. The big difference between the breast meat of any animal and the legs/thighs is the time it takes to make them tender. Same with a deer, elk, etc. The loin is much easier/faster to cook than the shanks, yet shanks, to many are one of the best cuts on the animal due to its rich flavor. This recipe isn’t a quick hitter. Getting the onions caramelized, then waiting patiently for the stock to do its magic takes a while. If you can wait it out, it will be worth it on the other side. With this recipe, you can also call an audible once the meat is cooked and picked. After picking the meat, you can then chop, blend, or shred to add to buffalo “chicken” dip, pot pie, enchiladas, quesadillas, the options are plenty. I hope you keep the legs/thighs from your next hunting trip and give this recipe a try.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2-3 hours
4-6 pheasant legs/thighs
2-3 onions (halved then sliced)
2 cloves of garlic (sliced or minced)
2 tbsp of butter
2-3 cups of stock (pheasant, chicken, turkey, beef)
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
Salt and Pepper
After breaking down the bird with your RazorPro, rinse in cold water and wrap in paper towels to absorb excess moisture (replace paper towels as needed). Its best to do this overnight. After bringing out of the fridge, give the legs a little rub down with a little evoo and then season with your favorite seasoning. We love RELOAD MAGNUM Blend. Allow legs to come closer to room temperature (keeps the skillet hot, resulting in better browning). Preheat oven at 225°F.
Using a large oven safe skillet (cast iron preferred), preheat skillet to med-low heat. Add 2-3 tbsp. of evoo, then add onions and slowly caramelize them. Once the skillet is up to temp, lower the heat to low, stirring the onions every few minutes so they do not burn. Add in butter to help with caramelizing. This may take 20-30mins to get them nice color. When the onions are almost done, add your garlic and make sure it doesn’t burn. After just a couple mins, either remove all onions and garlic from pan or just move them to the outside of your skillet if there’s plenty of room. Return heat to medium, add in 1-2 tbsp of evoo to the middle and then add your pheasant legs (skin side down if applicable). Try not to move them while they are browning. After a few minutes, flip them over and brown the other side for just a couple minutes.
Add in your stock, we used homemade turkey stock, but pheasant, chicken, or even beef work great. You want the liquid to come up about ¾ of the legs. Once that starts boiling, reduce heat and cover skillet. Place in oven for a couple of hours until meat shows signs of falling apart with the pressing of a fork. If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, you can cover and leave on stove top, just make sure heat is on low.
Pull legs from skillet and serve over a bed of rice, grits, or potatoes. You can also pull/pick the meat from the legs after they have cooled slightly (I wear latex gloves when picking so I can get to the legs quicker) and dice up the picked meat before serving. To finish, ladle over the onion stock mixture and enjoy.