Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pheasant with Mushroom & Wild Rice Chowder

I've bumped into a lot of hunters who say that their favorite way to eat pheasant is with condensed cream of mushroom soup and serving it over rice. I'm typically not a big fan of cooking anything in canned soup, but I can see how the flavors work. Here's something like that, but in chowder form-- without the can. I don't know why, but I have been on a soup kick lately, even in 90-100 degree weather. If you're weird like me, you'll like this recipe. It's thick, creamy and delicious, and also very easy to make. Or, you can save this one for colder weather. It would be perfect for when you're stuck inside, and it's 20 degrees and snowing outside... but let's not think about that now. Yikes! 

I would offer you more summer grilling recipes, but Rick will have to take care of that for now. I currently do not have access to a grill and my apartment complex is weird about its rules. If everything goes as planned, Rick will finally be out here in a couple months. Hooray!


Huckleberry, bird dog in training at Pheasant Bonanza.
While making this recipe, I've also discovered Land O' Lakes Fat Free Half-and-Half. You can use regular half-and-half, but I'm trying to watch what I eat, so I was happy to discover this product. I'm sure there are a lot of studies about how some fat free products like this one might not be all that good for you, but getting a heart attack from a high fat, natural diet isn't exactly desirable neither.  Everything in moderation, I say. 


In Nebraska, pheasant season starts on the last Saturday in October this year. I, for one, am uberly excited. I like shooting birds and playing with dogs. So far, I have to say that I like pheasant hunting best. But, there's still plenty of new hunting experiences to be had! To our Nebraska readers, hope to see some of you out in the field sometime.


 



Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:
- 2 pheasant breasts
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- 6 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
- 1 rib of celery, diced
- 3 small carrots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- half an onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter + 2 tbs.
- 1 package of mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 tsp. of coriander
- dash of paprika
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine
- 1 (4.3 oz) package of instant Rice-A-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
-2 1/2 cups of half and half
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp. of parsley, chopped



Vegetables should be cut like so.
1. In a soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and when most of the fat has been rendered out. Remove bacon and set aside.
2. Next, add diced celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for 7 minutes, or until onions are cooked through and slightly browned. Stir frequently.

Remove vegetables and set aside.
3. If necessary, add a pat of butter or some more oil to the pot. Salt and pepper both sides of pheasant breasts or pieces and brown on all sides over medium-high heat. No need to cook through. Brown in batches and do not overcrowd the pot.

Remove pheasant and set aside.


4. Lower heat to medium-low and add 1/2 cup of dry white wine. With a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen up all the yummy drippings.

Shred or cube pheasant into bite size pieces and return to pot, along with vegetables and bacon bits.


Then add 6 1/2 cups of chicken broth to the pot and all the instant rice from the box, BUT NOT the seasoning packet. Bring to a simmer.
5. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbs. of butter in a saute pan and cook mushrooms for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Set aside.




6. Then, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 cup of butter. Whisk in contents of Rice-A-Roni seasoning packet. Next, gradually add in 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, stirring constantly to form a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.

Lower heat to low. Then, slowly stir in 2 1/2 cup of half-and-half. Whisk to get rid of any lumps. Heat through. Then remove from heat. 


7. Stir cream mixture into the pot of broth, veggies and pheasant. Cook covered over medium-low heat until heated through and rice is tender, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the soup is too loose, heat uncovered until thickened. If it's too thick, add more half-and-half. Add coriander and paprika.

At the end, stir in the cooked mushrooms and parsley. 
Adjust seasonings, although there should be enough salt in the seasoning packet and broth already. 

Serve with crusty bread. 









Upland Hunting with Dogs

For those unfamiliar with upland hunting, here's sort of a taste of what happens. I took this video at a dog trial in Tekamah, Nebraska. At these dog trials, hunters come to compete with their dogs in timed events to see which team can locate and shoot more birds in an open grassland. It's a lot harder than it sounds. From what I remember, only 2 competitors that day completed their rounds with the required 3 birds. 




As you can see in the video, the pointer (dog) zig-zags and hops through the grass to cover as much ground as he can in hopes of catching a bird's scent, in this case, chukar. Once he does, he (or she) "goes on point" to let the hunter know that a bird is located nearby. Then the hunter comes, tries to flush the bird out of the grass and then shoots. Sometimes, the bird is smart enough to duck down low and escape through the grass without the hunter seeing. Other times, the hunter shoots and misses. And in some cases, the dog loses focus completely and doesn't locate any birds. Dog and hunter must perform well together to win the competition.


Depending on breed and training, different kinds of dogs are bred for pointing, flushing and/or retrieving. Pointers, like the dog in the video, aren't natural retrievers, but some can be trained to do it. Oftentimes, a hunter will bring a pointer and a retriever such a labrador to work as a team. 

I've always found it so neat and fun to watch hunting dogs work. And when you're hunting with a few people and everyone brings his or her dog, they all run and zig-zag around you like crazy and it's an absolute ball!

The dog's name in the video is "Fats." Hah!

(If you steal my picture to the left, I'm going to kick your butt. Just saying.)

3 comments:

  1. have doubled the amount of pheasant with good effect..thanks for sharing its a hit here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic! Thanks for trying out our recipe. Our recipes are just guidelines. We love it when people make it their own.

      Delete
  2. Every time I've made this there is never enough, everyone loves it! I've tweaked the recipe slightly and have also used sharp tail grouse and it is just as good.

    ReplyDelete

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