Many pheasant recipes are slathered with butter, bacon drippings and fat, or covered with heavy cream and rich sauces to keep the meat moist and flavorful but there are healthy dinner recipes for pheasant that are low in calories and mouthwateringly delicious.
While you can use pheasant in place of chicken, turkey or pork in many recipes, you need to cook pheasant recipes a certain way to keep its very lean and gamey meat from drying out. Because pheasant is very low in fat, it is best to cook it low and slow using a moist-heat method such as braising or stewing. The pheasant can also be brined or marinated before roasting to lock in moisture and flavor. Slow roasting and covering with foil at a temperature of 250 to 325 degrees F is also a good technique for making healthy dinner. Most importantly, pheasant should not be overcooked.
For a simple, hearty, moist and tender pheasant recipe, cook pheasant using a slow cooker. Cut the pheasant into pieces (breast, legs, wings, and so on) and coat evenly with a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. Brown the pheasant pieces on both sides in olive oil over medium high heat using a large skillet. Place the browned pheasant pieces in the slow cooker or crock-pot. Sauté chopped onions in the remaining oil and stir in mushrooms and garlic. Pour white wine in the skillet and bring to a boil. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture in the slow cooker with the pheasant and add black olives. Cook the whole on high for four hours or on low for seven hours.
Young pheasants are ideal for roasting whole. To keep the bird moist and flavorful, brine the pheasant for at least four hours before cooking. Make a solution of salted water (1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water) flavored with sugar, bay leaves, and crushed juniper berries. Bring the brine mixture to a boil and let it cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, submerge the pheasant in the brine and place in the fridge for four to eight hours. The longer you brine the bird, the saltier it becomes. To get crispy skin, after brining take the pheasant out of the brine and place it back in the fridge uncovered for 12 to 24 hours. This will dry out the skin so that tit will get crisp when cooked while keeping the meat moist.
Another technique to get crispy skin and juicy flesh is to sear the bird in a hot oven and finish cooking in a lower temperature. Take the pheasant out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (500 degrees if possible) for 15 to 30 minutes. Brush the bird with olive oil and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Stuff the cavity of the bird with a piece of onion or apple and a few fresh herbs but do not overdo or it will cook unevenly. Roast the pheasant at a high temperature for 15 minutes and then take the bird out. Lower the oven’s temperature to 350 degrees F and return the bird in the oven. Roast for another 30 to 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 155 to 165 degrees and the juices of the bird run clear. Take note that the meat of the pheasant will be slightly pink, which is ideal. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.