Many people like the idea of eating pheasant because it is seen as a somewhat exotic dish. If you have never eaten it before, are you curious about it? Do you ever think to yourself, what does pheasant taste like?
Pheasant is a type of poultry and is fairly similar in texture and taste to chicken, or turkey. Just like chicken and turkey, it has a combination of both white and dark meat. Pheasant has very little natural fat, so when you cook it, you have to be careful not to let it become too dry, otherwise, it will be bland, tasteless, and tough. But, with the right recipe, if cooked with care, the pheasant can taste absolutely delicious and leave you salivating for more.
Pheasant is best cooked on the bone, with butter and seasonings slipped under the skin, in order to give you a soft, moist and tender dish. Later on in this article, we will look at one or two recipes and methods of cooking pheasant in order to guide you with preparing it in the most delectable way.
If you called up a gourmet foodie and asked, “What does pheasant taste like?” The reply will be that while pheasant may taste similar to chicken, its true flavor is more like game meat, with a smokey flavor. Wild pheasant has a fairly strong, aromatic flavor. It has quite a distinctive taste.
If you have ever cooked turkey, you will know that it takes a long time to cook to perfection. I remember my Mom cooking turkey every year for the holidays. The aroma that wafted through the house as the turkey took its time slow-roasting in the oven made us all walk around with our tongues hanging out, nagging for just a quick taste. But my Mom was adamant, saying “Good food takes time to prepare. When it’s ready, the wait will be worth it.”
She was so right about that. And when wondering what pheasant tastes like, the same rule of thumb applies to cooking it. Slow roasting on medium heat, with just the right seasonings and sauces, will give you the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth taste of perfectly cooked pheasant.
Is Pheasant Healthy to Eat?
Pheasant is considered by nutritionists to be an extremely healthy source of protein. With our frenetic lifestyles today, many people often tend to choose the easy way out, eating a lot of fast foods, processed meats, rich dairy products, and foods high in trans-fats.
It is no secret that making a habit of eating these foods and following this type of diet is a sure way to cause damage to your arteries. There is more and more emphasis today on the importance of following a healthy diet, and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
If you are wondering what pheasant tastes like, you might also like to know that making it a regular part of your diet has many health benefits. It is very lean, making it low in saturated fats. Unlike certain red meats, pheasant will not clog your arteries with fatty deposits. If you suffer from high cholesterol, you can safely allow pheasant to appear regularly on your table.
What Do Pheasants Eat?
When trying to answer the question, what does pheasant taste like, it is helpful to look at what pheasants themselves eat? I remember an old favorite television advert, from my childhood, for a certain brand of frozen chicken. The slogan was a simple, but highly memorable one. The reason that they taste so good, is because they eat so well. The same principle would apply to pheasants.
In the wild, pheasants eat fruit, seeds, insects, and even small mammals. Farm-reared pheasants are usually fed a healthy diet of mixed grains, corn, and seeds. They are not fed a fatty diet and are not given any meat to eat. The result is that pheasant is a healthy source of lean protein.
In addition to its protein value, pheasant meat is also rich in vitamins B-6 and B-12. It contains essential minerals such as selenium and potassium and is low in sodium. All-in-all, pheasant is not only an exotic and alluring dish. It is also a healthy and nutritious choice.
Can You Eat Pheasant Eggs?
Pheasant eggs are full of healthy nutrients. They are very rich in protein and amino acids and contain high levels of vitamins B and D. There are many delicious ways to cook these eggs, either on their own or as valuable ingredients in other dishes.
What is the Best Way to Cook Pheasant?
Before actually cooking your pheasant, it is necessary to clean it very well. If you buy from a reputable butcher, it should have already been hung for a few days to ensure that the meat is soft and tender.
Your butcher should also have made sure that your bird has been plucked clean and does not have any stray feathers. When you unwrap it before cooking, even if it looks clean, it is recommended to wash it well by rinsing thoroughly under cold running water. Remember to rinse the inside cavity well, too. You will also want to dry it carefully, in order to prevent the juices from being too watery when you cook it.
Should You Cook Pheasant in the Oven, or on the Stove Top?
You will achieve the best results from slow-roasting your pheasant in the oven at a medium temperature of about 330-350 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter than that and your bird will dry out. If you attempt to cook pheasant on the stovetop, the heat of the flame will be too intense and it will not cook evenly. The outside will be hard and dry, while the inside might be under-done.
How Should You Prepare the Pheasant?
My favorite recipe is so simple and straightforward, but oh so scrumptious! I honestly believe that a recipe does not have to be complicated and intricate, and long and involved, in order to be good. In fact, it is often the simplest and easiest recipes that yield the best results. An added bonus to this recipe is the fact that you literally only dirty two dishes in your kitchen.
- 1 whole pheasant
- 3 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil or softened butter
- A little maple syrup
- A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh thyme
- Cut up carrot sticks
- 1 whole onion, peeled
First, soak the bird in brine. Make the brine by boiling the water, salt, bay leaves, and sugar. Cover and leave to cool completely. When cool, pour the brine over the bird and place it in the fridge for about 8 hours, or overnight.
Hint: if you like nice, crispy skin, remove the bird from the brine and leave it uncovered in the fridge for another 4-6 hours.
Take the pheasant out of the fridge and, while it reaches room temperature, preheat your oven to at least 400 degrees. Rub the bird well with olive oil or softened butter. Try to slip some under the skin as well. This will give you lovely golden, crispy skin. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and drizzle very lightly with maple syrup.
Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrot sticks and fresh thyme. Place in a roasting pan and roast uncovered in the oven on high for only fifteen minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, and turn the temperature down to 330-350 degrees. You can leave the oven door slightly ajar to speed up the cooling process. Put the bird back in the oven and roast slowly, also uncovered, for another 30-45 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Take it out of the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.
What Does Pheasant Taste Like When Cooked in a Slow Cooker?
The beauty of the recipe given above is that it is easily adapted to slow-cooking. However, you will need more liquid. Follow all the instructions as above, but before placing in the slow-cooker, brown your bird lightly in a pan with a little hot oil, to give it an appetizing color. Put the pheasant into the slow cooker. You can also add some vegetables, like potatoes and pumpkin or baby marrows. Now you will need some liquid to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Take 3-4 cups of good quality chicken stock. Add a generous splash of sherry. Cover the cooker and allow it to cook on low for about 8-10 hours.
How Do You Carve A Pheasant?
Carving a pheasant is much the same as carving a chicken. The trick is to use a very sharp knife. Place your fork in the centre of the breast and slice downwards in a short quick motion. The meat should come away from the bone. If the breast pieces are very large you can slice them up into smaller pieces. Now cut off the wings, and separate the legs and thighs. Serve with a selection of vegetables to suit your taste.
You are now ready to pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, and tuck in and enjoy a mouthwatering, healthy meal!