Turkeys, ducks, pheasant, chukar - these birds all have one thing in common, they are delicious. However, many hunters may not be using these birds to their fullest potential. Often times hunters will breast out their birds and then throw the rest away unaware the bones are a tremendous source of flavor. In order to take advantage of this hidden flavor, Scott says it’s time to make stock. If you don’t feel like plucking your bird, Scott says that’s ok. Instead, peel the breasts off the bird like usual and then cut/quarter what’s left of the bird. In the bottom of a hot pan, toss in your bird pieces and brown them thoroughly. Once the meat is golden brown you add carrots, celery, onions and cold water. Let that pot simmer overnight, strain it through cheesecloth and when it’s complete you’ll have a delicious stock. Scott even talks about a way to make game bird stocks by using a few different species of birds at once. Chukar, pheasant, turkey and even chicken, or a fowl combination of your own, Scott says it’s important you start by browning the meat to give it a greater depth of flavor, one that can’t be achieved by simply just boiling the meats. Once they’ve roasted a bit, put them into the cold water in a stock pot and bring it almost to a boil, then turn it to low and let it simmer uncovered for a few hours. Deer, elk and other game animal bones can be cooked the same way. While you can’t eat the bones, they aid in making rich and delicious stocks that are excellent bases for your soups and other foods, plus they are way better than bouillon cubes or store bought stock.
Scott will then talk pheasants and highlight a tasty Skillet Pheasant Breast recipe:
- 4 – 6 boneless pheasant breasts, skin on or off
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbl onion, finely diced
- 2 tbl capers
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup rice or white wine vinegar
- pinch sugar
- 1/4 cup black olives, chopped
- 1 cup small tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Rub meat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and lightly brown on both sides. Add garlic and next 5 ingredients. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove pheasant when just cooked and keep warm. Whisk in remaining oil. Add olives, tomato and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon tomato mixture over cooked breasts and top with cheese.
They key to this recipe is not to overcook the pheasant, which happens frequently. Most people are afraid of chicken and Scott says rightfully so, chicken needs to be cooked thoroughly. However, pheasants don’t need to be cooked the same way so resist the urge to cook the cluck right out of it!
Finally, Scott will talk about brining game birds and the flavor and moisture it adds by doing so. He’ll discuss an event he cooked at where he brined both Ring-necked ducks and Mallards in Hi Mountain Seasonings Game Bird and Poultry Brine, cooked them and then asked participants to taste them and see if they could tell which one was which. Scott will explain how the brine works to mellow out flavor without compromising or masking the natural flavor of your birds. Listen in!
Learn how to make delicious meals from the wild game meats you harvest by watching Scott Leysath on “The Sporting Chef”, Sundays at 1:00 pm ET on Sportsman Channel. Plus, be sure you go back and catch up on previous episodes and tasty recipes from “The Sporting Chef” by going to MyOutdoorTV where you have access to a HUGE library of outdoor hunting, fishing, shooting and wild game cooking content.
Birds, brines and delicious eats