Roasted Pheasant with Dried Fruit

So last week was Charisse’s parent’s Pat and Monica’s 35th wedding anniversary, so we had them over for dinner on Sunday. As a terrific start to what Pat refers to as the “three dulls”: January, February, March we thought it would be fun to create something different in the kitchen. Our friend Susan raises and trains a breed of bird dog called “Vizslas” which are these beautiful athletic brown dogs. She’s very, very good at it and her dogs have won all kinds of titles and awards. We got the call on Saturday that Susan had taken eight pheasants and wanted to give a few to us, which was pretty terrific since we’re all about fresh food! We were pretty lucky to have them, but weren’t exactly sure what to do with them. Since we still had cranberries leftover from Christmas Eve we decided to go with a roasted pheasant with dried fruit. It was really interesting and took a bit longer to cook than we expected, but once we got it done the bird was fantastic. Its kind of like a cross between a chicken and a duck, not greasy like duck but it doesn’t exactly have that chicken texture, its a very unique bird and one we’re going to have to experiment with again sometime.

Here’s a picture of Pat and Monica going to their high school prom:
Aren’t they the sweetest thing? They were together since they were 15! 
And here are some pictures of our meal tickets, Q and Finley: 
(From Susan): Q’s fancy name is:  BISS GCh Ch Tivoliz Now Pay Attention MH, CD, RN, AX, AXJ, VC, TDI  (okay, so I’m a bit of an “over achiever” with her! LOL!)  She is a  MH “Master Hunter” (the only hunting related title in her name). This is Q:
(Also from Susan): Finley’s fancy name is: HRQ Keep ‘Em Guessing JH  (Finn’s just getting started, so not as many titles…but the JH stands for Junior Hunter). This is Finley: 

Roasted Pheasant with Dried Fruit
What you Will Need

cup cider vinegar
cup dry white wine
tablespoons dried thyme
tablespoons dried oregano
tablespoons dried rosemary
cloves garlic
tablespoons maple syrup
teaspoons of salt
teaspoons cracked black pepper
bay leaves
(3 – 4 pound) pheasants
dried apricots
cup of dried cranberries

1            Onion, Peeled and Quartered

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together and pour over pheasants. Marinade between 6 hours to 1 day, turning occasionally to coat the pheasant. 
Preheat oven to 375
Remove birds from marinade but reserve juices. Stuff with dried fruit and quartered onions and place in a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. 
Cook, breast down for about 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the birds reach 160*
Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil, reduce and let simmer until reduced by half. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, pour marinade over the pheasants.  
Once out of the oven, let the birds sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes, carve and serve hot, and top with some of the fruit filling

12 thoughts on “Roasted Pheasant with Dried Fruit

  1. your roasted Pheasant sound so good, game meat pairs so well with fruit, just a perfect combination! Now all I have to do is find some pheasant!CheersDennis

  2. What a gorgeous pheasant! My dad has a Wild Game party every year at Thanksgiving, we had pheasant, but it was grilled. This sounds so much better!

  3. I don't think that I have ever had pheasant but would love to try it. Yours looks so delicious! I wonder if whole foods carries pheasant…

  4. Right about now I'm with Pat about the three dulls! But your pheasant just could make me forget about the drearies. Looks wonderful. I haven't had pheasant in forever . . . and never at home. You're lucky!

  5. Heavenly! I love love love Pheasant! I haven't had it in years! It's one of my favorite fowl flavors- like it better than turkey. This is a beautiful presentation- what a treat for everyone!!

  6. When I was a kid there always seemed to be a gamey pheasant hanging in our storeroom (the joys of being related to a gamekeeper) which used to freak me out. I can now appreciate this delicious bird. Your romantic meal for the lovely couple sounds magical.

  7. Who got to clean the pheasants? I really like pheasant, they look wonderful. You'll have to try grouse next.

  8. We lived in a very remote area once and my neighbor brought me some fresh pheasant. I was a little too eager and did not heed his suggestion to wait a couple of days before cooking them to allow the meat to get tender. They were still tasty, ok really good, but I won't make that mistake twice. The dried fruit combination sounds amazing!

  9. Besides the great meal, love Vizsla's. They are fast and even saw one catch a rabbit this summer.Paul

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