Panko and Herb Crusted Pheasant with Sorrel Cream Sauce

When you live in (or near) the country, there is no shortage of produce. You will be bound to meet a few friends who tend to garden faster than they could eat, and in the summer, they'll try to offer you as many tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers and apples as they can, which you will gladly accept because homegrown veggies and fruits are always better than store-bought. But this summer was a special one. This summer I discovered sorrel, which my good friend April gave to me. This lemon-like, tangy herb makes a wonderful, creamy French soup that I have totally fallen in love with. It's also easy to grow and is very pest resistant. When Rick and I get an opportunity to keep a garden, sorrel will be one of the first things that I will grow. And now that fall is here, I feel the need to highlight it in one of our dishes-- before it gets too cold for April to give me any more of this awesome green. :-) 

This sorrel cream sauce will make a great condiment for anything that needs an added brightness, like seafood and anything fried. Next time you have fried fish, serve it with this sorrel cream sauce instead of tartar sauce. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
- 4 pheasant breasts
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
- leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. of kosher salt, plus more to taste
- vegetable oil and/or butter for frying
- 2 cups of sorrel leaves, packed
- 1/2 tbs. of butter
- 1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. To make the sauce, wash sorrel leaves thoroughly. Remove the center ribs and stems, then give the leaves a rough chop and set aside. 
2. Next, melt 1/2 tbs. of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chopped shallot and sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Then add sorrel leaves and a pinch of salt. Stir often until leaves are wilted and tender, 5-10 minutes.

3. Then whisk in 1/2 tsp. of all-purpose flour to the wilted sorrel. Cook this mixture, which will turn into a paste, for 2 minutes and stirring often. Next whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and bring the sauce to a simmer. Do not boil. Simmer to desired consistency then take off heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside, covered.
4. Lay 1 pheasant breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. With a mallet, flatten pheasant breasts until about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and repeat with the others. Season all sides with salt and pepper then set aside.
5. In a dish or wide bowl, combine Panko bread crumbs, thyme, rosemary and 1 tsp. of salt. 
Then dredge flattened breasts in this order: flour, egg and Panko. 
Next, deep fry or pan fry coated pheasant breasts until thoroughly cooked and golden brown all over, about 2-3 minutes each side. I like to pan fry in a combination of both butter and vegetable oil.

6. Reheat sorrel cream sauce over low heat. Add more heavy cream to loosen sauce, if desired. Check seasonings, then spoon sauce over breasts or serve on the side. Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes. 

To reheat leftover pheasant, bake in a 400 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. They will crisp right up again. 


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