This is a superb way to prepare wild pheasant, as well as grouse, quail, partridge and even rabbit (rear quarters and loins only). I like to serve this dish with wild rice, peas and crabapple jelly.
1 pheasant, dressed
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each dried sage, thyme, savoury and marjoram (or substitute 3 tsp poultry dressing seasoning)
Corn oil (or olive oil)
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups 10% cream (or canned milk)
Remove legs and breast meat; cut each breast into 2 or 3 pieces. The skin is best left on to help retain moisture, but it can be removed if you prefer.
In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, thyme, savoury and marjoram. Set aside 2 tbsp and place remaining mixture in a doubled plastic bag. Shake pheasant pieces (two at a time) in bag until they’re well coated; remove and place on a dish to air-dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a deep heavy skillet, heat ½ inch of corn oil until a drop of water makes a tinkle sound; do not overheat. Lightly brown pheasant pieces, turning occasionally. Remove and set aside on paper towel.
Drain oil from pan. When pan is still warm, place over low heat; add butter and melt. Stir in reserved flour mixture, gently scraping pan with a wooden spoon to loosen pan leavings. Slowly stir in wine and cream until thoroughly blended; bring to a simmer.
Add pheasant pieces and tightly cover pan. Check sauce every 5 minutes and add a little more cream if it gets too thick. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes—or until you can’t withstand the delicious aroma any longer.
Since upland game birds have very little fat, leaving the skin on helps keep the lean meat moist. The skin also adds to the overall flavour, and it browns beautifully in the oven.