This recipe calls for chilling and marinating, so plan ahead.
Cookbook authors John Ash and Sid Goldstein were inspired by a dish from chef Tim Anderson of Goodfellow's restaurant in Minneapolis. It calls for breasts only, but Kitchen Stories columnist Bonny Wolf used the whole pheasant. Legs and thighs take longer to cook than the breast meat, so put them on the grill about 3 to 4 minutes ahead.
You may have extra citrus cream, but that's a good thing; it's delicious.
Pheasant is available at Wegmans and Balducci's.
- For the pheasant and marinade
- 3 cups apple cider
- 6 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 to 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on pheasant, butterflied and cut into light and dark meat sections
- Olive oil
- For the citrus cream
- 2 cups crème fraîche
- 3 cups apple cider
- Juice from 3 medium lemons
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound mixed salad greens, washed and dried
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted (see NOTE)
For the pheasant and marinade: Combine the apple cider, garlic, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat, transfer to a covered container and let cool. Refrigerate until chilled, then pour over the pheasant and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the citrus cream: Place the creme fraiche in a medium nonreactive mixing bowl.
Combine the apple cider and citrus juices in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquids have reduced to slightly more than 1 cup. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then stir the reduced juice into the creme fraiche. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to cook, prepare the grill: If using a gas grill, heat it to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat.
Remove the pheasant pieces from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels; strain and reserve the marinade. Rub the pheasant pieces with a generous amount of oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on the grill, skin side down, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, basting frequently with the reserved marinade. Turn the pheasant pieces over and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165.
Divide the mixed salad greens among individual plates. Cut the pheasant on the bias into very thin slices (around the bones) and place on top of the greens. Drizzle with the citrus cream and sprinkle with pecan halves.
Adapted from "American Game Cooking," by John Ash and Sid Goldstein (Aris Books, 1991).
Tested by Bonny Wolf.
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