Roast Pheasant

Roasted MacFarlane pheasant

MacFarlane Pheasants Inc.

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Marinating time: 30 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1974 Calories
111g Fat
16g Carbs
222g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1974
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 111g 142%
Saturated Fat 30g 152%
Cholesterol 606mg 202%
Sodium 1358mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 222g
Vitamin C 22mg 108%
Calcium 170mg 13%
Iron 12mg 65%
Potassium 2059mg 44%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eastern Europeans are fond of game meat—venison, bison, boar, elk, pigeons (squab), and other wild poultry like pheasant. Pheasant hunting was not only expected of the men in the family, but it was also demanded by the women who used the birds' beautiful feathers to make some pretty snazzy hats. While some don't like the gamey taste of wild pheasant, farm-raised pheasant is another bird entirely.

Pheasant can be overcooked in the wink of an eye. Some people get around this by cutting the bird into pieces and giving the dark meat a headstart in the oven so the breast meat doesn't become dry. If you leave the bird whole, you can lay strips of bacon or salt pork over the breast meat while it is roasting to alleviate the problem. But most farm-raised pheasants have a substantial amount of fat in the neck skin and added fat makes for pretty greasy drippings. Instead, you can marinate the whole bird for 30 minutes. The oil from the marinade helps to keep the breast succulent and moist. Pheasants are small birds, so one will probably serve only two hungry people. Plan accordingly.

Ingredients

For the Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup dry red wine

  • 3 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 tablespoon​ finely chopped fresh basil

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pheasant:

  • 1 (2- to 3-pound) whole pheasant, preferably farm-raised

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

  • 1 small onion, halved

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine wine (or water), vinegar, shallots, olive oil, sugar, garlic, dry mustard, oregano, basil, marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until well mixed.

  3. Sprinkle salt in the inside cavity of the pheasant, if desired. Place the whole bird in the marinade, moving it around so the marinade reaches all parts of the bird. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

  4. Heat the oven to 325 F.

  5. Remove the pheasant from marinade, but do not rinse it off.

  6. Place bird in a lidded roasting pan that is just slightly bigger than the bird. Place bird, breast-side up in the roasting pan. Place the halved onion in the cavity of the bird. Cover and roast for 30 minutes.

  7. Remove the lid, baste bird and let it continue to roast for approximately 30 more minutes without the lid so it will brown. The pheasant is done when the thighs move easily and the juices run clear.

  8. Remove the pheasant and allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before carving and serving.

Serving Suggestions

As with most poultry, pheasant benefits from an accompaniment of a chutney such as pickled raisins when serving. You can serve your pheasant with side dishes such as roasted potatoes or rice pilaf and steamed or roasted vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

For food safety, discard the marinade after it has been in contact with the pheasant. If you wish to serve it, you must bring it to a boil first to kill any bacteria it will pick up from the meat.