Barbecued Pheasant

Pheasant hunting season is just around the corner, so most upland game enthusiasts are cleaning their freezers of last year’s bounty to make room for the new.That’s what I’ve been up to recently.

bbqphexThis past Sunday, we had a tasty meal of baked pheasant and wild rice dressing. I like to use my pheasant breasts along with the nice thigh meat for this meal.

So what to do with the legs?

I like to poach them in a pot of water, let them cool and then add the deboned meat to a batch of homemade barbecue sauce. It’s easy, makes use of a part of the bird that some hunters discard and is tasty to boot.

Here’s the recipe. If you wish, the thighs also can be used along with the leg meat, which takes a little time to get off the bone but is well worth the trouble. Or if you prefer, buy some oven-broasted chicken from your supermarket deli.

Barbecued Pheasant
6 pheasant legs and thighs
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 cayenne pepper, cut up (or as many hot peppers as you like)
Poach pheasant legs and thighs. Remove meat. Once cool, remove meat from bones.Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil.Add pheasant and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until mixture thickens and carmelizes.Serve on buns.

Chicken and Green Bean Casserole

It’s always a challenge to come up with new recipes with the same old ingredients. But all it take is a little imagination. That’s what I did the other day, and the results were beyond my expectations.

pheasantMy plan was to come up with something that combined chicken (in this case pheasant), potatoes and green beans, since I had all three of those ingredients on hand. What I had in mind was some sort of casserole.

Of course, I needed a sauce, and the combination of mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup was just the ticket. The recipe that follows is what I came up with. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken and Green Bean Casserole
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 14.5-ounce cans green beans
1 10.5-ounce can cream of chicken soup
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 to 10 small new potatoes, steamed
Red wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly brown chicken breasts on both sides. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and set aside drippings.
Pour green beans (drained) into a 2-quart casserole dish. Place the chicken on top of the beans. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup along with the pan drippings. Place on top of the chicken and beans. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top.
Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven. Serve over steamed new potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4.

Pheasant Stroganoff

Cooking meals for a family on a daily basis can be challenging, especially if you are trying to mix things up a bit and not have the same thing week after week.

FN_Paula Deen Beef Stroganoff.tifThe past four days, our grandson has come over for supper, having a break between hockey and baseball season. The first night, we had a casserole, fondly called “Grandma’s Hotdish” by family members. That was followed by pork steak cooked in my homemade barbecue  and served with mashed potatoes and whole-kernel corn. Next came mac ‘n’ cheese.

But the coup de grace was a pheasant stroganoff. Not only was the stroganoff delicious and loaded with mushrooms, it also was a good way to use some of the game that’s in the freezer. (You also could substitute chicken for the pheasant.)

Pheasant Stroganoff
|1 pound pheasant meat, about ½-inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound mushrooms, washed trimmed and sliced
1 medium onion, minced (about ½ cup)
1 10½ ounce can condensed chicken broth
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons flour, divided
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cooking sherry
3 to 4 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles
Cut meat across the grain into ½-inch strips, about 1½ inches long. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is tender. Add and saute pheasant until cooked through. Add half of the flour, spices and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add soup and half of broth. Stir in ketchup, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Blend reserved broth and flour then stir into meat mixture along with Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in sour cream and sherry, heat through. Serve over noodles.

Balsamic Chicken and Sweet Peppers

Peppers are great when combined with meat. In just about every culture, a cook can find recipes that pair the two. And most them are on the easy side to prepare.

chickenpeppersMexicans, for example, have fajitas. Head to the Orient, and you can find all sorts of stir-fry recipes that feature peppers and meat. Ditto for the Middle East and the Mediterranean countries, where peppers are stuffed with various types of meat. And go to Africa, and you’ll find peppers and meat are combined with other vegetables and fruit in tasty dishes.

Here’s a recipe that I tried recently. I’m not sure of its origins, but the fact that the only cooking container you need is a Dutch oven and takes less than an hour from start to finish makes it very desirable.

The cooking method, braising, is a favorite of mine. Even the tough cuts of meat come out tender when simmered slowly in a little liquid. 

Balsamic Chicken and Sweet Peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
Heat oil in medium Dutch oven over high heat until it shimmers. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Place chicken in the pan, in batches, top-side down. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn over, continue cooking 3 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
Add peppers to Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced by half. Add honey and broth, season with salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes.
Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a platter. Cook sauce until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and pour sauce over the chicken.
Note: I substituted a dozen pheasant thighs and the result was more than satisfactory.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 380 calories, 28 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 115 milligrams cholesterol, 16 grams fat.

Pheasant Stew

There’s no doubt that stew is a cool-weather dish. And the changing of the seasons from early to late fall is the perfect time to fix this age-old comfort food.

stewJust recently back from a pheasant hunting trip, I dug the remainder of our home-grown carrots. A half-dozen of these, combined with some nicely cooked leftover pheasant and some other veggies including potatoes, celery, tomatoes and green beans, and I had the makings for a tasty stew, the recipe for which follows.

Pheasant Stew
2 cups cooked pheasant, cut into small pieces (can substitute chicken or turkey)
6 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 pint whole tomatoes
1 14½-ounce can green beans
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sage
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup red wine
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, diced
Place all ingredients into stock pot and cook for 2 hours. Serve.
Note:To thicken, add some cornstarch dissolved in warm water.

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

Nothing is as satisfying as a good bowl of soup on a cold and rainy day. And when the soup contains ingredients that you have harvested in your own garden and on hunting trips, the meal is even more appealing.

newsouupSaturday was one of those days. With a couple of buckets full of carrots from my garden and a package of pheasant legs and thighs needing to  be eaten up before this coming weekend’s rooster opener, the decision to make soup was an easy one.

The following recipe calls for chicken, but you could substitute pheasant like I did or else use turkey or some other fowl.

And I have to say that the result was delicious.

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 cup of water
1 cup long grain white rice
1½ cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add in the rice and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low until the rice is tender-about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

It’s no fun preparing meals in the oven when temperatures are in the 90s and the relative humidity is near the century mark, especially if you don’t have air conditioning.

seschickenLuckily, we have central air, but I still refrain from using the oven when the weather outside is more suited for lobsters ready to go into the boiling pot.

In fact, I’m not one for cooking at all except if it’s something like BLTs, which we’re having tonight with some fresh tomatoes from the garden.

Another option when it’s too hot for the oven is the slow cooker. Here’s one such recipe from a friend of mine, Nancy Carriere of Plymouth, Minn. It’s one of those dishes that always looks so good at Chinese buffets. I might just have to try it tomorrow night, using pheasant instead of chicken and served with a side of fresh broccoli.

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken
1½ pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
½ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds
Put chicken into slow cooker pot. Combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high 1½ to 2½ hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from slow cooker, leave sauce. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and pour into slow cooker. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size-pieces and return to slow cooker. Simmer on low or serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Spanish Rice and Chicken Skillet

Convenience, time-savings and affordability: Those are three things that always have  been important to home cooks. That’s especially true now in times when both parents often are working outside the home, and it’s getting harder and harder to live from paycheck to paycheck.

spanish-rice-and-chicken-skilletSo, here’s a question: What chicken recipe would you choose to prepare for your family? One that can be found on the back of a ketchup bottle that can be made in a skillet, contains common ingredients that can be found in your pantry and can be ready in a jiffy or one that’s in the local paper that requires going to the a liquor store for some rum, the supermarket for fresh herbs and has fowl that needs to be marinated for hours and then cooked on a grill.

I know what my answer would.

And that’s why it was a no-brainer when I found the following recipe on a Heinz ketchup bottle and decided to give it a try. The result was scrumptious. In fact, Therese couldn’t stop raving about the dish when she was eating leftovers the next day.

I substituted pheasant for the chicken, olive oil for cooking spray and my own broth that was made from the scraps from the breast of colorful game bird, which probably cut down the calories and the already-low fat content of the original recipe.

Spanish Rice and Chicken Skillet
Olive oil
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1½ cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
½ cup tomato ketchup
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil. Brown chicken 2 to 3 minutes; add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken and rice are cooked, stirring once.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 340 calories, 2 grams fat (no saturated), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1,050 milligrams sodium, 50 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 31 grams protein, 10 grams sugar.

Garlic and Lemon Chicken with Green Beans and Red Potatoes

People who planted their gardens between rains in mid-May, probably have begun to see things popping out of the ground. That’s especially true in the case of beans and potatoes.

ed20b617f23931924c9ab358f03439c1While it will be a month or two before those two veggies will be ripe for harvest in area gardens, it’s not too early to think about some recipes that contain that dynamic duo.

I was contemplating that today after seeing a recipe on the social media site of one of my friends, Debra Vein of Grand Forks. The recipe was for lemon chicken with  — you guessed it — beans and potatoes, which I decided to give a try.

I made this choice after Therese had brought home a bag of nice green beans that were on sale at our neighborhood supermarket. Also featured at Hugo’s were some nice red potatoes.

Here the recipe, in which I substituted pheasant breasts for chicken.

Garlic and Lemon Chicken with Green Beans and Red Potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound trimmed green beans
8 small red potatoes, quartered
4 chicken or pheasant breasts (about 3¼ pounds)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly.
Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender.
Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.
Yield: Serves 4.

Pheasant or Chicken Wraps

Vegetables go great with wild game, which has a more pronounced flavor than its domestic counterpart. Veggies can complement the meat without concealing its taste, which hasn’t been modified by centuries of breeding as is the case with barnyard animals.

BBQ3000ChickenWrapsI’m a big fan of combining vegetables with wild game, which is the topic of one of my sessions at this weekend’s Gardening Saturday event at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

Most recently, I’ve combined peppers and onions with some leftover baked pheasant breast (warmed in the microwave), all wrapped up in a flour tortilla and topped with a buffalo-style sauce.

Here’s another recipe that combines vegetables and game in a wrap style, courtesty of Penzeys, the spice people. It’s quick and tasty-perfect for a light lunch or for tomorrow’s lunch with grilled chicken leftover from today’s dinner.

BBQ 3000 Pheasant or Chicken Wraps
2 whole chicken breasts (4 breast pieces, boneless/skinless)
2 red bell peppers
1 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons BBQ 3000 or barbecue spice
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 soft tortilla wraps
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 to 1 teaspoon BBQ 3000
Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut onion in rings, quarter bell peppers. Brush chicken and veggies with oil and then sprinkle with BBQ 3000. Grill over medium heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side. The vegetables need to be off the direct heat so they don’t burn, for about the same amount of time. Remove from grill, let cool. Shred lettuce and warm tortilla shells if desired (5 minutes at 350 degrees wrapped in a kitchen towel works well). Whisk together sour cream, ketchup and BBQ 3000. Slice chicken and bell pepper, dice onion. Spoon about a tablespoon of sauce down the middle of each shell, layer with chicken, peppers, onion and lettuce, wrap and serve. A little dab of sauce is quite useful to help the shell stay shut if you are placing the wraps on a platter.
Yield: 12 wraps.