How to Cook Pheasant: Buttered Roast Pheasant with Cream and Bourbon
This is a long, slow recipe for roast pheasant, cooked in butter and cream, with a splash of bourbon for good measure. Please read the entire thing so you understand how long it will take to complete the dish. If you want to learn how to cook a pheasant, this is your go-to dish.
Prep Time 7hours
Cook Time 1hour
Total Time 8hours
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
2largesprigs of sagedivided
1/4cupbutterat room temperature
2tablespoonschopped fresh sage leaves
1teaspoonchopped fresh rosemary leaves
2slicesof good bacon
1largesprig of rosemary
1/4teaspoonfreshly-ground white pepper
1largecarrotpeeled and sliced into rounds
1wholesweet onionpeeled and sliced
3tablespoonsgood bourbon(I use Makers Mark)
Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add salt and sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Add bay leaves and 1 of the sprigs of sage. Allow water to come to room temperature. Once the water has cooled, add the pheasant to the pot and weight down the bird to keep it fully submerged (I used a zip-top bag filled with water). Place the pot in the refrigerator. Allow to brine for 4 hours.
Remove the pheasant from the brine and dry completely. Discard brine water. Set the pheasant breast-up in a dish and allow to sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours, up to overnight. This dries out the bird, which is necessary for proper roasting.
Set an oven rack to the center on the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
In a small bowl, combine butter, sage, and rosemary. Stir well and let sit for 15 minutes.
Melt the butter and herbs in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly brown the bird on all sides and set breast-up in a 5-quart Dutch oven or 9" x 13" baking dish. Lower the heat under the skillet to medium-low and add shallots, frying them until they are gently browned. Pour the shallots and butter into the baking dish with the pheasant. Deglaze the skillet with 2 tablespoons of water and pour the drippings into the baking dish.
Cut each slice of bacon in half and cover each side of the pheasant’s breasts with bacon. Slide a sprig of rosemary, the remaining sprig of sage, and garlic cloves into the bird’s cavity. Truss the legs. Pour chicken stock into the baking dish, and sprinkle the liquid with salt and pepper. Scatter carrots and onions in the dish around the pheasant. Pour bourbon over the pheasant and immediately set on fire with a lighter. The flames will die down after a second or two.
Slide the pheasant into the oven and roast for 40 minutes, basting every 15 minutes, paying special attention to the legs and thighs. When 40 minutes has passed, add heavy cream to the sauce in the baking dish and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast is 150°F (66°C). Remove the bird from the oven and let rest, covered loosely, for 10 minutes. Cut the roast pheasant free of its ties and discard the stuffing. Serve with sauce and shallots from the pan.
Nutritional information does not include brining ingredients.