Pheasant Wraps with Quinoa and Cilantro-Lemon Aioli

Now every time I use cilantro, I think of Rick's cousin Chris. She absolutely hates cilantro. So Chris, I guess this recipe isn't for you. Sorry! Although, it's not really her fault. Cilantro haters are actually genetically predisposed. They have a certain gene that makes cilantro tastes soapy or bitter. It's too bad because cilantro is a must in all sorts of Latin American and Asian cuisines-- not to rub it in. It serves as a refreshing, bright addition to many dishes. 

I have extra reason to be happy about this recipe because it's pheasant! I have been wondering how to get just one pheasant for myself, and I ended up with six! During a photoshoot at Pheasants Bonanza in Tekamah, NE, the guides gave me all the birds they shot that day. 
I came home with a total of six pheasants and one chukar. The club's chef, who was also a guide, taught me how to properly clean the birds-- something I've never done before. It was an awesome day. 

This recipe allows for a lot of variation. You can use quinoa, but couscous is also delicious as well. Cook quinoa plain or add your favorite veggies on hand. It's a light, refreshing dish, perfect for lunch or maybe even party appetizers.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes 
Cooking Time: 30 minutes minutes
- 2 pheasant breasts, cut into strips
- 1 1/2 cups of panko breadcrumbs 
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- vegetable oil, for frying
- butter lettuce
- 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1 tsp. of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of diced onion
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of tomatoes, diced
- grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- 1/3 cup of mayo
- 1/4 tsp. of lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp. of Hungarian paprika, or regular
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. of cilantro, minced

1. Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook chopped onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Combine 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa and 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook covered according to package directions or until all liquids are absorbed. Once cooked, mix in tomatoes, chopped green onion and Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasonings and allow to cool. You can do this in advance, too. 

2. In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Set aside.

3. Cut pheasant breasts into strips against the grain. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, to taste. 
4. Place panko, flour and beaten egg in separate dishes/bowls. 

Dredge pheasant strips in flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg and then breadcrumbs again. 
5. Heat 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry pheasant strips in batches, about 1 minute each side or until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. 
Drain on paper towels.
6. Spread some quinoa onto each butter lettuce. Lay fried pheasant on top and drizzle with the cilantro-lemon aioli.



  1. Cilantro????? Why does it have to be cilantro???
    ;) Chris


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